A federal judge reduced Sam Bankman-Fried’s ability to engage with the online world on Tuesday, ordering that he have access to just two electronic devices: a phone without an internet connection, and a laptop that can visit just a small number of websites.
To make sure he complies, the devices will be equipped with monitoring software. Additionally, because the FTX founder is under home confinement at his parents’ residence, their devices will also be safeguarded against his use. The parents’ electronics must be password protected, and special software will take a photograph of the person using the devices every several minutes.
If Bankman-Fried receives visitors at the house, those individuals will be screened with a handheld metal detector by a security guard to check for phones or other electronics.
Bankman-Fried landed in this position after repeatedly angering both prosecutors and the court. In January, he contacted the general counsel of FTX on an encrypted app, writing that he “would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship.” The move sparked allegations that he may have been trying to influence a possible witness in his case.
More recently, Bankman-Fried infuriated the court after using a virtual private network, or VPN, to watch the Super Bowl. The former crypto billionaire has since been barred from using both encrypted chat apps or a VPN, except as permitted by the court.
According to Tuesday’s order, Bankman-Fried will be allowed to visit websites related to his defense, such as government web pages, his law firm’s website, and those related to FTX. He will also have access to 16 media sites (sadly, he seems not to be a Daily Beast reader), Amazon, Doordash, and a few other pages.
The restrictions are no doubt an adjustment for Bankman-Fried, who was once known to conduct interviews while playing the online video game League of Legends (that’s now banned, too).
The order was perhaps not the worst news for him on Tuesday, however. Prosecutors also released a superseding indictment that charges the 31-year-old with conspiring to bribe at least one Chinese official in 2021, claiming that he transferred tens of millions of dollars in crypto after authorities froze his hedge fund’s accounts.
Bankman-Fried’s indictment now clocks in at 13 counts.