Amazon Won Patent for Data Stream to Identify Bitcoin Users for Law Enforcement

| Updated
by Darya Rudz · 3 min read
Amazon Won Patent for Data Stream to Identify Bitcoin Users for Law Enforcement
Photo: Norio NAKAYAMA / Flickr

Amazon has been awarded a patent for a “streaming data marketplace,” where information is combined into a dataset to provide real-life identities to the government.

Amazon, the largest Internet retailer in the world as measured by revenue and market capitalization, has won a patent for a streaming data marketplace that could enable users to receive real-time cryptocurrency transactions data.

The patent was originally applied for in September, 2014. Approved on Tuesday, the patent describes a system in which a “stream of data may be received and then correlated and combined with data from a second source as a combined stream,” which would generally make it easier for various commercial and government entities to share information, and control who they share it with.

According to the document released on April 17, a streaming analytics service may enable developers to build real-time dashboards, capture exceptions and generate alerts, drive recommendations, and make other real-time business or operational decisions. Applications can be built which respond to changes in the streaming data in seconds, at any scale. Stream data may be stored across multiple availability zones in a region for a set time window. During that window, data is available to be read, re-read, backfilled, analyzed or moved to long-term storage.

The patent says: “For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream. A group of telecommunications providers may subscribe downstream to the combined data stream and be able to correlate the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the transactions to countries of origin. Government agencies may be able to subscribe downstream and correlate tax transaction data to help identify transaction participants.”

What is more, Amazon envisions a law enforcement agency subscribing to a cryptocurrency transaction data feed and then paying an a la carte fee to analyze that data using an application from the platform’s analysis module.

“For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine source IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to bitcoin addresses. The agency may not want additional available enhancements such as local bank data records. The streaming data marketplace may price this desired data out per GB (gigabyte), for example, and the agency can start running analytics on the desired data using the analysis module.”

While a corporation like Amazon identifies Bitcoin users for the police, crypto fans obsessed with privacy are worrying, especially after Facebook scandal. Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that did digital work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, is under a lot of talk and scrutiny after several recent reports have raised ethical questions about its business practices. Before the scandal with Facebook, it planned $30 million ICO.

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