The FBI is requesting $21m and 80 new employees in a bid to investigate emerging tech that could help the agency combat cybercrime.
In a budget request for fiscal year 2018, sent on 21st June, Andrew McCabe, acting director of the FBI, testified to the White House that the agency is facing what it believes are significant challenges in gaining access to digital information – even when it has the legal authority to do so. This notably includes cases that involve “drug traffickers using virtual currencies to obscure their transactions”.
It is also the same narrative that the FBI’s former Director James Comey put forth last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The challenge, the agency has said, is that the FBI now requires more financial resources to investigate technologies and decipher information transmitted on the darknet. Elsewhere, it is also engaging in dialogues with companies that provide such technology to educate them on the “corrosive effects” that information inaccessibility has on “public safety and the rule of law”.
Earlier this year, the privacy-encrypted digital currency Monero (XMR), for example, drew attention from FBI for similar reasons.
A special agent working at the FBI’s Cyber Division in New York City said at an event that the agency has concerns such technology will set roadblocks for criminal investigations.
“Developing alternative technical methods is typically a time-consuming, expensive and uncertain process,” the agency said.