The U.S. Congress has passed a bill that calls for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to study how innovative technologies can be used by the law enforcement agency.

The “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act” was passed on 19 September, and mandates that the director of FinCEN, Kenneth Blanco, should conduct a study on how emerging technologies, such as blockchain, can be used to improve the bureau’s operations. The bill was moved to the Senate for consideration, and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, on 23 September. It reads:

“The Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) shall carry out a study on… whether AI, digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies can be further leveraged to make FinCEN’s data analysis more efficient and effective.”

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The bill was originally introduced in May by a member of the House of Financial Services Committee, Freshman Representative Anthony Gonzalez from Ohio. According to a statement from Gonzalez, the bill was designed to help the financial crimes regulator use the “best technology we have available”, to stop money laundering.

In June, the FinCEN director briefed several members of the House of Representatives on how Facebook’s Libra could be used in crimes, such as money laundering and illicit financial activities. Following that briefing, David Marcus, head of Facebook’s cryptocurrency wallet Calibra, assured the U.S. Senate Banking Committee that the Libra Association will be registered with FinCEN and will have to comply with its AML and KYC requirements.

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