Chairman Carper Hosts International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and Thomson Reuters to Discuss New Report on Virtual Currencies

WASHINGTON- Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, hosted an event to highlight a new report by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and Thomson Reuters. The report, titled “The Digital Economy: Potential, Perils, and Promises,” focuses on how law enforcement, financial regulators and agencies within the federal government are responding to virtual currencies and how increasing anonymity in the ‘digital economy’ may affect the online exploitation of children. The report offers recommendations on how the growth of virtual currencies can be encouraged while preventing the sexual exploitation of children and other criminal activity.

“I’d like to thank the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Thomson Reuters for allowing us to host them today, and the Digital Economy Task Force for their hard work on this report and attention to this important topic,” said Chairman Carper. “Digital and virtual currencies are an evolving technology with a number of implications for government and society. It’s important that we have smart, thoughtful conversations like the one today to discuss how we deal with them effectively. No one knows how virtual currencies will evolve, or what type of government response may be needed in the long term. That’s why I believe that the government, academics, and the private sector must continue to work together to better understand this technology. The report we discussed today is a great step in the right direction.”

“We are deeply grateful to Chairman Carper for his vision and leadership on this emerging issue,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. “The digital economy offers the possibility of enormous social good, but there is a dark side. We are particularly concerned about the migration of child pornography and sexual exploitation into the new anonymous dark web using digital currencies. Our task force brought together leaders of the digital economy with law enforcement leaders, scholars, human rights advocates and many others. Now the next step is action. We are deeply grateful to Chairman Carper for his aggressive and inspired leadership on this critical issue.”

The report is the result of the Digital Economy Task Force (DETF), a coalition created by ICMEC and Thomson Reuters and led by co-chairs Ernie Allen, president and CEO of ICMEC, and Steve Rubley, managing director of the Government Segment of Thomson Reuters. The report offers a regulatory framework that fosters the growth of the digital economy, including digital currencies and alternate payment systems, while addressing anonymizing technology and the growth of “deep web” marketplaces that allow illegal commerce, including money laundering, narcotics, weapons, stolen goods, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, and more. For more information on the report, please visit: http://www.icmec.org/en_X1/ICMEC_Digital_Economy.pdf

Chairman Carper ‘s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has been investigating digital currencies since the spring of 2013. As digital currencies become increasingly popular for online commerce, the Committee has sought to better understand their role in society and how the federal government should respond. In November, 2013, Chairman Carper hosted the first ever Congressional hearing on digital currencies to learn from Administration officials, law enforcement officials, academics, and private sector representatives about the risks and benefits associated with this technology. Since the hearing, Chairman Carper and his staff continue to investigate virtual currencies and plan to release a report in spring 2014 with their findings.