Everyone has been involved in Online Deviancy whether they realise it or not. Pirating a movie, downloading an album, this is theft. Yet we have been desensitised to crime online because it is as easy to download the new Marvel film as it is to check our emails. But there is a section of the internet not so easily accessed, and far more severe crimes being committed.
The Silk Road has been recognised the most sophisticated and dangerous online market. A black market site that primarily sold illegal drugs. Silk Road uses Tor software and Bitcoin for accessibility and anonymity.
A 2015 documentary Deep Web tells the story of Ross Ulbricht, the known creator of the Darknet site. Dread Pirate Roberts or DPR was his pseudonym on The Silk Road site. The documentary gives us a human face to the dark site. Ulbricht ideology is not one of violence or harm, but in fact of freedom. He wanted a free and safe space to buy drugs. A community message board was available on the site, where members would warn against Overdosing on Drug. Yet the media paints Ulbricht as a Druglord.
Ulbrichts arrest came about when FBI agents became uncover members of the Silk Road. His arrest and trial was huge in the war against drugs and the war against online deviancy.
An issue raised in the Documentary is that of how the FBI access the Silk Road servers. The servers ran on tor which should have hid the location of the server.
To hack the server without a warrant is as illegal as searching a house without a warrant. It is a question of law of privacy. If the government can access your personal data without a warrant than this could have a detrimental effect to the right to privacy. The trial of the Ross Ulbricht has set a precedent of internet privacy.
Although The Silk Road has been shut down, other Dark Net websites have been created. There seems to be a constant reactions to the governments investigations or laws. More and more websites challenge the laws.
In the Trail, Ulbricht admits that he did in fact create the Silk Road website, but he was not DPR. Ulbricht has been sentenced to life in prison with no parol.
The documentary highlights how the government intervenes in online activity. How anonymity can be problematic when crimes are being prosecuted. But it is more importantly a commentary about Online Deviancy. The Accessibility of illegal items, the anonymity of those who buy and sell illegal items online.