The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Damien Williams, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are requesting “proposed modifications” to the bail conditions of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. The SDNY prosecutor is asking the court to prohibit Bankman-Fried from using a smartphone with an internet connection. Instead, the disgraced FTX co-founder will receive a government-issued flip phone with disabled internet capabilities.
Bankman-Fried can get a flip phone with connections attached
On March 3, 2023, DOJ and SDNY counsel Damian Williams filed a request with Judge Louis Kaplan to modify bail conditions Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former CEO of FTX. Prosecutors sought to limit SBF’s access to the Internet through a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers and video game devices that allow chat and voice communication. The proposed restriction would prohibit SBF from using any internet-enabled smart devices.
The government also wants the interim measures added to the SBF bail conditions to be fully accepted. These measures include a ban on communicating with any FTX or Alameda Research employee without an attorney present, a ban on the use of encrypted messengers such as Signal, and a ban on the use of VPNs. SBF will receive a government-issued flip phone with a DOJ controlled serial number, IMEI number, IMSI number, MAC address and SIM number. The foldable phone will allow SMS text messages and voice calls.
“With regard to the use of the defendant’s computer, the parties propose that the defendant’s new laptop be configured so that he can access the Internet only through the use of certain VPNs and that the VPN networks only allow the defendant to access websites that are whitelisted through the VPNs,” the court filing filed by SDNY’s attorney stated. “Specifically, an authorized VPN installed on the laptop would have allowed the defendant to access the read-only cloud-hosted FTX database that was provided as part of discovery.”
In addition, federal prosecutors want to install surveillance software on the SBF’s computer to log activity. If approved by Kaplan, the SBF would have to turn over its electronic devices for investigation by pretrial services. The former FTX executive will also be banned from buying new mobile phones, tablets, computers or other electronic devices that can connect to the internet. Prior to the DOJ request, SBF was known to play online video games, use Twitter, and recently created the Substack blog to explain his side of the story.
What do you think of the government’s proposed restrictions on Sam Bankman-Fried’s internet access and use of electronic devices? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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