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In light of ongoing harassment against a number of personnel, a public utility in one of the Bitcoin mining hotspots in the U.S. will be adopting new security measures.
The steps are being taken by the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) in Washington County. As previously reported, the area has become very popular among Bitcoin miners due to its abundant access to hydropower sources. Yet “confrontations” between staffers and would-be mine operators, as first reported by The Wenatchee World, have sparked a drive to add new cameras, install security panels and institute other actions.
On Monday, Rich Hyatt, the director of corporate security for Chelan County PUD, briefed the district’s commissioners during a meeting. Also attributed the moves to “belligerent behavior by impatient cryptocurrency miners” who are reacting poorly following a moratorium imposed on new bitcoin mines.
Hyatt pointed out:
“Some of the things we’re doing internally, we’ve got a lot of business security measures, at [headquarters] we’ve [installed] a lot of security panels, we’ve increased the camera coverage. We’ve also designed and are going into the construction phase for a very small store front lobby that would give employees a lot more security without having personnel or customers being able to walk right into their work area. We’re monitoring those areas.”
The security officer also explained that the new measures imposed were taken in order to dissuade unauthorized Bitcoin miners from setting up facilities. Hyatt also said that his office has been coordinating with the chief of police, the county sheriff and the county prosecutor to investigate and possibly prosecute repeat offenders, saying:
“We … have an agreement with those agencies that we could use [them] as the mechanism that when we prepare a case and gather the evidence and establish probable cause, we can take that case through their detectives and that can help the county for prosecution considerations.”
The agency has also trained its personnel on how to do business with potentially aggressive individuals by installing panic buttons for front-line staff and adding security officers able to spot “negative body language,” he said.