According to a recent account by a member of the BitcoinTalk community, it appears that certain members of the Federal government have a much deeper understanding of Bitcoin than previously thought. The poster says that during a raid, the government knew to seize unused Trezor wallets and transfer seized bitcoins to their own bitcoin wallets.
Hardware wallets, when used correctly, are a highly recommended way to store bitcoins. Understanding how to keep bitcoins secure is a fundamental problem that any new user will face. To quote the poster directly:
When “homeland security” raided our house they took several Trezors still in the original packages that I had planned to give away for Christmas presents. […] BTW: Homeland Security was storing all the seized Bitcoins on a Trezor that they either purchased or seized from someone else!
The knowledge does beg the question as to whether the Trezor wallets were acquired in a raid or if they were chosen instead of Ledger wallets. That is, if a government official had decided on the brand of hardware wallet the agency would use.
There are many strategies to keeping bitcoins safe, and using hardware wallets for long-term storage has time and again been recommended. Keeping long-term storage bitcoins encrypted and difficult to access is also important. In the event of a seizure, an encrypted wallet cannot be compromised. The same advice could be given for any file that one did not want to be shared easily with snooping government agents: encrypt it and do not share the private key.
Image from Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.