Cyprus tackles crypto-enabled cybercrime

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Cyprus will tighten rules for cryptocurrency payments to crack down on fraud and criminal activities hiding behind transactions made with virtual money.

The House expects the government to submit its amendments to a bill amending the 2021 Law on Combating Fraud and Forgery of Non-Cash Payment Means.

The amended bill is expected to be voted in the two weeks, with reports saying that MPs are on board with the government’s proposed changes.

The legislation helps authorities effectively deal with fraud involving means of payment other than cash in criminal activities such as terrorism, drugs and human trafficking.

The Justice Ministry submitted the bill before parliament’s summer break, with MPs expressing concerns over possible personal data and communications law violations as the bill provides for monitoring communications in cases where cybercrime is suspected.

However, the Digital Security Authority (DSA) had clarified that the proposed regulations do not concern private use of the Internet but cases in which there is evidence pointing to criminal offences or illegal purchases via the Internet using cryptocurrencies.

DSA officials also argued that the information the authority is required to provide to the police is limited to information under the provisions of the Security of Networks and Information Systems Law.

Furthermore, they emphasised that, according to the current legislation, the DSA cannot provide authorities with information regarding data protected by the privacy of communication act.

The legislation was passed in April 2021 to harmonise national law with a European directive issued in 2019.