Dec 6, 2023 | Press Releases

Nunn Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Terrorist Money Laundering

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Zach Nunn (IA-03) today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent terrorist groups from disguising their digital location to circumvent laws designed to prevent money from funding terrorism. The bipartisan Stop Terrorism and Illicit Finance Location Exploitation (STIFLE) Act would direct the U.S. Department of Treasury to ensure the most accurate methods for location services in financial systems are being utilized. The bill is co-led by Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Ranking Member Joyce Beatty (OH-03). 

“With the development of new technologies, it’s become easier for terrorists to disguise their true location to evade sanctions and mask their sources of funding,” said Rep. Nunn. “The STIFLE Act is a commonsense, bipartisan approach to cut off terrorist funding sources.”  

Many financial technology platforms use Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, which were first created in 1974, as the primary indicator of a user’s location. Other location identifying technology—such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular connections—provide a far more accurate view of an individual’s location than IP addresses.  

By relying on the outdated IP address technology, terror groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hezbollah, and others can use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and other even more sophisticated location obfuscation techniques to hide their locations for the purpose of evading geographic sanctions.  For example, in 2022, cellular, Wi-Fi, or GPS signals detected 30.3 million attempted transactions from countries like Iran, Cuba, and Syria with manipulated IP addresses.  

“Bad actors continue to develop advanced tools to covertly manipulate financial systems, evade sanctions, and carry out terrorism and corruption around the world,” said Rep. Joyce Beatty. “I joined my colleague, Rep. Zach Nunn, in introducing a bill that takes a critical first step towards identifying and disrupting the sophisticated location obfuscation techniques used by these bad actors. We must continue to protect the prosperity and security of both financial institutions and the American people.” 

The bipartisan STIFLE Act directs the U.S. Department of Treasury to develop a plan for more accurate methods of determining location services during financial transactions. Specifically, this bill will require the U.S. Department of Treasury to 

  • Convene a group of technology experts, national security experts, and law enforcement to combat illicit actors disguising their locations to manipulate financial technology systems. 
  • Develop a plan to combat money laundering through the implementation of more accurate location detection technology. 

Text of the bill can be found here.