The Irish government has moved to introduce a new set of political integrity regulations which involves banning crypto donations, to tackle potential Russian cyber interference in the country.
Ireland to block parties from accepting crypto donations
According to local reports, political parties would be banned from accepting crypto donations under new political integrity regulations over fears of Russian cyber involvement in Irish elections.
Darragh O’Brien, a local minister who has been tasked with electoral reform, has written a memo to party leaders that outlines his goal of outlining a series of measures to counter malicious foreign interference in the election.
As part of a major reform of the electoral law, the authorities plan to put in place stricter limits on all foreign donations, as well as obligations for parties to disclose full information on their real estate portfolios. The country would revise political finance laws to guide how political parties and individuals can obtain financial assistance from outside sources.
Additionally, the soon-to-be-created task force of legal professionals and political scientists to “build a legal and digital bulwark” would also have the power to take down social media companies and clarify online misinformation that may negatively influence the voting process. In particular, Ireland is known for its strong stance towards “misleading” crypto promotionswhich the country’s central bank has warned its customers.
“The appalling invasion of Ukraine and the insidious disinformation war highlight the fundamental threats facing all democracies,” O’Brien said.
Russian influence in Ireland in recent times has been discreet but considerable. The Conti cyberattack, which penetrated the Health Service Executive (HSE) and took its IT systems offline in May 2021, shows how a deterioration in wider security can impact the country. According to reports, the attack was carried out by the Russian criminal group Wizard Spider.