The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), Damian 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 would receive a government-issued flip phone with disabled internet capabilities.
Bankman-Fried May Get a Flip Phone With Strings Attached
On March 3, 2023, the DOJ and SDNY attorney Damian Williams filed a request with judge Lewis Kaplan to modify the bail conditions of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO of FTX. Prosecutors seek to restrict SBF’s internet access through various devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and video game devices that allow chat and voice communication. The proposed restriction would ban SBF from using any smart devices with internet capability.
The government also wants the temporary measures added to SBF’s bail conditions to be fully adopted. These measures include not communicating with any FTX or Alameda Research employee without counsel present, not using encrypted messengers such as Signal, and prohibiting the use of a VPN. SBF would receive a government-issued flip phone with a DOJ-controlled serial number, IMEI number, IMSI number, MAC address, and SIM number. The flip phone would allow SMS text messaging and voice calls.
“With respect to the defendant’s computer usage, the parties propose that the defendant’s new laptop be configured so that he is only able to log on to the internet through the use of specified VPNs, and that the VPNs only permit the defendant to access websites that have been whitelisted through the VPNs,” the court filing submitted by the SDNY attorney details. “Specifically, an authorized VPN installed on the laptop would allow the defendant to access the cloud-hosted FTX read-only database that has been provided as part of discovery.”
In addition, federal prosecutors want to install monitoring software on SBF’s computer to log activity. If approved by Kaplan, SBF would have to surrender his electronic devices for investigation by pretrial services. The former FTX CEO would also be prohibited from purchasing any new cell phones, tablets, computers, or other electronic devices that can connect to the internet. Before the DOJ’s request, SBF was known to play online video games, use Twitter, and he recently created a Substack blog to explain his side of the story.
What do you think about 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.