Former FTX CEO’s attorneys agree to pay for security expert to assist

The attorneys who are defending former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have come to an agreement to foot the bill for a security expert who will assist the federal judge who is presiding over his fraud case in navigating modern encryption technology. This will help the judge decide whether or not to modify Bankman-bail Fried’s conditions.

On February 21, attorneys Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen of Bankman-Fried issued a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan in which they expressed their agreement with his suggestion that he get assistance from a technical specialist.

The letter states that “the defense has already begun researching and contacting possible experts and anticipates being able to propose one or more potential candidates to the court by the end of this week.” The letter also states that “the defense has already begun researching and contacting possible experts.”

At a bail hearing that took place a week ago, Judge Kaplan indicated that bail conditions should be increased when it was determined that Bankman-Fried had been accessing the internet using a virtual private network (VPN) (virtual private network).

It is common practice to use a virtual private network, often known as a VPN, in order to alter one’s internet protocol (IP) address, to provide an extra layer of protection to one’s communications, or to access information that is prohibited under authoritarian regimes.

The court has been attempting to find a middle ground between granting Bankman-Fried access to communication channels so that he may prepare his case and preventing the abuse of messaging applications and privacy software.

Judge Kaplan has placed a temporary prohibition on Bankman-Fried using any virtual private network (VPN) or encrypted chat applications until his bail conditions have been resolved.

The technical expert will assist the court in navigating challenges relating to encrypted communications, messaging programs that prioritize privacy, and virtual private networks (VPNs).

Bankman-Fried and his counsel claim that he utilized the virtual private network (VPN) on two separate occasions: first to watch the NFL playoffs on January 29 and another time to watch the Super Bowl on February 12.

The prosecution has requested that Bankman-access Fried’s to the internet and other chat platforms be severely restricted as a condition of his release on bail. They also said that the usage of a virtual private network (VPN) “created various possible issues” about the potential access to cryptocurrency sites that had prohibited users from the United States.


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Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Used VPN

The prosecutors who are handling the criminal case against Sam Bankman-Fried, the former chief executive officer of FTX, have asked for more time to investigate the potential legal ramifications of Bankman-use Fried’s of a virtual private network, sometimes known as a VPN.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, stated in a document that was filed on February 13 with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that the Justice Department had discovered that Bankman-Fried accessed the internet on January 29 and February 12, with the latter date being the day of Super Bowl LVII. Williams claims that the government’s position was that the use of a virtual private network (VPN) “raises several potential concerns.” He cites the example of users based in the United States accessing certain international crypto exchanges, as well as the obscuring of data from websites that Bankman-Fried may be visiting.

In the petition, it was said that using a virtual private network (VPN) “allows data transfers without discovery via a secure, encrypted connection [and] is a more secure and covert manner of accessing the dark web.” “The defense contends that the defendant was not making use of a virtual private network (VPN) for any unlawful purpose, and it has stated that it would appreciate the chance to engage in negotiations with the government about the problem,”

Mark Cohen, an attorney with the company Cohen & Gresser who is defending SBF in the criminal action, claims that the former CEO of FTX utilized the VPN to watch sporting events, including the Super Bowl. He went on to say that until the controversy was settled among attorneys, Bankman-Fried would not employ a virtual private network (VPN).

“He watched the AFC Championship game on January 29, 2023, as well as the NFC Championship game, then he watched the Super Bowl on February 12, 2023. This usage of a virtual private network does not give rise to any of the concerns expressed by the government in its letter.

According to the court filing, Bankman-legal Fried’s team was reportedly considering whether the usage of a virtual private network (VPN) by the former CEO of FTX may be added as a condition of his release. Since SBF was arrested, the prosecution has already requested that the court place restrictions on Bankman-use Fried’s of specific messaging applications and order her to desist from making contact with current or former workers of FTX and Alameda Research. The attorneys for Bankman-Fried and the U.S. prosecutors have asked further time until February 17 to explore the potential implications of SBF utilizing a virtual private network (VPN) for his bail terms.

The criminal trial against Bankman-Fried is slated to begin in October, and he is expected to face eight charges connected to wire fraud and breaches of regulations governing campaign money. The civil lawsuits that SBF is facing from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will be put on hold until the end of the criminal case, according to a ruling that was handed down on February 13 by a court.


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DPN vs VPN: The dawn of decentralized web privacy

The internet has undoubtedly revolutionized the way we live. It has changed how we work, access information, travel, communicate and interact with each other. Along with it comes a greater level of freedom that we enjoy because of democratizing and decentralizing information. By doing so, the internet has opened up to a greater debate, analysis and scrutiny by the general public on matters that impact them and the world. Thanks to the internet, the sphere of influence is shifting away from centralized authorities and the mainstream media.

In our rush to grasp the freedoms offered by the internet, we have neglected or been made to neglect something just as important: our privacy. As billions of people flock to join the latest social media networks, they fail to realize that they themselves are the actual product behind these new free services.

Related: The perils of a decentralized web living in the centralized world

Incentivized by “free” platforms and peer pressure, parts of the internet became factories for data collection, with valuable user data and information passed on to the platforms’ real customers: the highest bidder. A few powerful corporations seized large sections of the internet, harvesting data property that does not belong to them, diluting privacy rights and opening the doors to censorship.

Related: Social media giants must decentralize the internet… Now!

This centralizing factor — alongside other concerns surrounding accessibility, surveillance and net neutrality — has led to increased privacy awareness.

VPNs: The first step in securing user privacy

The origins of virtual private networks, or VPNs, can be traced back to Microsoft in 1996, where Gurdeep Singh-Pall invented the Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol for implementing virtual private networks. Fast forward to 2021, and VPN services are on the rise, following an all-time high adoption level of 27.1% in 2020. The likes of NordVPN reported an increase in VPN use during the COVID-19 lockdown, due to an increase in work-from-home orders.

The motivation behind the use of VPNs varies from security requirements to avoiding surveillance, overcoming censorship and improving streaming services. Regardless, VPNs allow users to send their web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server managed by the VPN service provider. Traffic then exits to the web where data continues to be encrypted, provided users only connect to secure HTTPS websites, preserving privacy as a result.

VPN services — such as NordVPN, ProtonVPN, Surfshark and others — use strong security protocols, minimal data logging, private Domain Name System, or DNS, servers and internet-friendly jurisdictions. In turn, this leads to benefits such as avoidance of censorship, enhanced security on both public and private connections and data transfers, remote access and online anonymity.

While it is a step in the right direction, VPNs can significantly slow down internet speed and result in poor connectivity. Websites can even block traffic generated through a VPN with anti-VPN software or log data that can then be resold. Not to mention that VPNs are a centralized service. As a result, they still leave users vulnerable to data leaks and potential censorship.

The way forward is paved by decentralized alternatives called decentralized private networks, or DPNs.

Decentralized private networks

Similar to VPNs, decentralized private networks, or decentralized VPNs, also use encrypted tunnels to route web traffic, but they do this over decentralized rather than centralized networks. DPNs are serverless and distributed, ensuring higher security levels such that user data is not logged, hacked or subpoenaed.

In a decentralized private network, user devices act as both the client (like individual internet users) and server (like Amazon Web Services or Google). And the IP addresses automatically change based on their routing rules, establishing tunnels to other nodes all over the world.

The negation of a central point of control in DPN services means there are no central points to attack; the network cannot be taken down. Users also have control over their data, as no centralized provider has access to the information they are trying to protect.

DPNs are making it to the market

With users more aware of the privacy issues and problems around the centralization of data and information, DPNs are becoming increasingly popular. Innovators in the blockchain and crypto space are already leveraging this demand to offer better protection to their netizens.

For example, Polkadot-based DPN project Deeper Network combines network security, blockchain and the sharing economy to create a global peer-to-peer network to offer the same resilience against data theft and censorship as traditional VPNs, only without the need for a central server. The same goes for DPNs like Mysterium Network and Hhopr that allow applications, people and organizations to share information in complete privacy.

Related: DeFi snowball will turn into a Web 3.0 avalanche

Apart from the software solutions of DPNs, there are also hardware devices, such as the Deeper Connect, that create a private network for users to browse the internet just like any VPN. These hardware decentralized VPNs offer a one-time purchase and no-subscription model. The users of hardware VPNs can also share their idle bandwidth with other users and earn a profit for their contribution.

This altogether creates a truly private, more secure, rewarding network for users to browse the internet. There’s a great possibility that DPNs will lead the internet from where it stands today to a point of secure communication space where technology and ethics meet to preserve human dignity, freedom and independence.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Evan Luthra is a Top 30 Under 30 tech entrepreneur and blockchain expert holding an honorary Ph.D. in decentralized and distributed systems. His companies, StartupStudio and Iyoko, invest in and help build the companies of tomorrow. Evan is a featured speaker at various universities and conferences around the globe.