Coinbase Received 1,900 Requests for Client Info From Law Enforcement During First Half of 2020
October 17th, 2020
Coinbase has revealed that it received a total of 1,914 requests for customer data from global law enforcement agencies during the first six months of 2020. It is, however, not clear how many of the requests were fulfilled.
In its first so-called“transparency report” published Friday, the U.S. crypto exchange – which boasts a user base of 38 million – said 97% of the requests had to do with criminal investigations.
U.S. agencies accounted for the biggest number of requests, sending 1,113 requisitions or 58% of the total. At least 441 (23%) came from the U.K., 176 or 16.5% from Germany and the rest from other parts of the world.
Inside the U.S., Coinbase disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requested the most information. It submitted 340 requests followed by Homeland Security Investigations (184), local state agencies (180), and the Drug Enforcement Administration with 104 requests.
Other requests were drawn from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Secret Service, the Postal Inspection Service, the Department of Justice, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Paul Grewal, chief legal officer at Coinbase, said the requests from law enforcement largely come in the form of subpoenas. Sometimes, the requests involve search warrants, court orders, and other formal processes, he added.
“We respect the legitimate interests of government authorities in pursuing bad actors who abuse others and our platform,” noted Grewal, adding, “yet we will not hesitate to push back where appropriate…”
Coinbase’s “transparency report” comes after the exchange’s censure by the digital rights group Economic Frontier Foundation. The group recommended Coinbase publish such reports “for the public to know who is making those requests, or how often.”