Patrick O’Donovon, a member of the Republic of Ireland’s lower house of parliament, called on lawmakers today to look into digital currencies and the role they play in illegal transactions on the deep web.
On the same day that the French senate held hearings on Bitcoin, the Fine Gael party member drummed up images of Silk Road traders in describing an “online supermarket” of illegal goods and services that could be purchased with currencies such as Bitcoin.
“We need a national and international response to clamp down on this illicit trade,” O’Donovon told lawmakers.
The anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies allowed a black market to spring up online, and as such he plans to seek cooperation with Ireland’s departments of justice and communications. He also lashed out open-source web browsers (Tor, for example, though it wasn’t named specifically) for their protection of anonymity online and suggested this was a concern for the entire European Union.
More than anything, it seems as though the imagery of Bitcoin users as pirates, assassins for hire and mail-order pot dealers has found a new proponent.
Here is a full excerpt from his statement, as published on the Fine Gael website:
“An online black market is operating which protects the users’ anonymity and operates across borders through the use of open source internet browers [sic] and payments systems which allow users to remain anonymous.
“This effectively operates as an online supermarket for illegal goods such as drugs, weapons and pornography, where it is extremely difficult to trace the identity of the buyers.”
The Fine Gael party website notes that O’Donovan — described as “a fighter for issues” — has served on the Limerick County Council for eight years before becoming a Teachta Dála, or assembly delegate, in 2011.