Richard Gratkowski was accused of making payments to a child pornography website and sent Bitcoin (BTC) to the web portal through his Coinbase account. Now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched Gratkowski’s apartment and found illegal material in his house. Coinbase was subpoenaed for transaction records, but Gratkowski appealed the case, saying that his Bitcoin transaction history was protected by the fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Two judges agreed
Judge Catharina Haynes decided differently, however, and referred to a decision from 1939 called “United States vs. Miller ”: This particular decision stated that bank records are not protected by the fourth additional article. The other two judges agreed. In her judge’s verdict, Bitcoin transactions, unlike mobile phone data, did not constitute an “intimate window into a person’s life”.
Although the case is controversial, Bitcoiner is unsure how this ruling will affect other U.S. lawsuits in the future. In the United States, decisions bound to the Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals have traditionally become formalized standards or laws. In this particular case, it is, of course, clear from the nature of the crime that a large majority of the people stand behind the judge’s decision and consider it correct.