The patent was actually applied for way back in 2014, it looks like it is a pretty simple logical one that I assumed law enforcement was already doing, that is a collection of retailers who who correlate bitcoin addresses to shipping address and compile them and sell this information to law enforcement agencies.
One has to assume it has to be a bit more than this, probably logging of an IP and tracking where it’s gone via the ad targeting Amazon uses but it seems like it won’t be able to stop anyone who doesn’t want to be found. A snippet of the patent is found d below but here is the thing simply using a non logging vpn and new address (and possibly a new seed) would defeat all of this and I can’t imagine hackers aren’t already doing this.
The only way to actually go ahead and stop massive thefts is to work with tumbling companies and exchanges through cooperation or via court orders, this is how to catch them. If the law enforcement wants to catch these criminals they don’t need to be sold some weird mashup of merchants logs but just work with the people we know the coins are going to go.
One example is a data stream that publishes or includes global bitcoin transactions (or any crypto currency transaction). These transactions are completely visible to each participant in the network. The raw transaction data may have little meaning to a customer unless the customer has a way to correlate various elements of the stream with other useful data. For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream. A group of telecommunications providers may subscribe downstream to the combined data stream and be able to correlate the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the transactions to countries of origin. Government agencies may be able to subscribe downstream and correlate tax transaction data to help identify transaction participants.