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The Almighty Buck The Internet Crime News

Online Narcotics Store 'Silk Road' Is Showing Cracks 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the until-the-internet-routes-around-the-cracks dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "It always sounded like a hoax, didn't it? Silk Road: an Internet website where you can buy any drug in the world? Yeah, right. But it's real. It was almost two years ago that we first heard about the site, which hosts everything from Adderall to Ketamine, LSD to MDMA and tons and tons of weed. After it started to pick up a ton of press and exposure, we all thought that certainly the Silk Road would get shut down. It's super illegal to sell drugs or even to help people sell drugs. But it didn't. Silk Road survives to this day. However, with the arrival this week of the first conviction of a Silk Road-related crime, you have to wonder if Silk Road's days might be numbered after all. The trouble is brewing in Australia, where a guy named Paul Leslie Howard is facing as many as five years in prison for selling drugs on Silk Road. We're not talking millions of dollars worth of drugs, but we are talking about thousands of dollars worth. And just as Silk Road natives had feared, Howard was one of those Silk Road n00bs who read a newspaper article about the site and decided to try it out for himself."
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Online Narcotics Store 'Silk Road' Is Showing Cracks

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  • by Corwn of Amber (802933) <corwinofamber@skyn[ ]be ['et.' in gap]> on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:19PM (#42764787) Journal

    SilkRoad is a sort of eBay for drugs. One guy was caught selling drugs, big deal : there are still thousand of others selling drugs on the site. It's like saying "Craigslist is DOOMED : a date rapist was caught using it!"

  • User error. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:26PM (#42764859) Journal

    If you get caught selling drugs on Silk Road it's entirely your own fault. You can use the site anonymously with Tor. You can receive funds anonymously with Bitcoin. You can send drugs anonymously by dropping it in an unattended mailbox.

    Now for the people buying drugs it's a whole different story. You have to show up in person and pick up the drugs. You don't know who you're dealing with, so there could easily be a cop waiting for you when you go to get it.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:28PM (#42764887) Homepage

    A brilliant strategy: A stoned out populace that 1) pays taxes and 2) doesn't give a shit about anything.

    What's not to like?

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:31PM (#42764927)

    I don't see how the prosecution of one person spells the end for a website, or an entire online trade.

    It's a little bit like saying busting one dealer will bring down the entire drug trade in a country. The Silk Road, or other sites like it (which I imagine the savvier users will have switched to as soon as the Silk Road got media heat), will continue for as long as there's a demand.

    Just legalise it all already.

  • by jjsimp (2245386) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:32PM (#42764945)

    Sure, Ron Paul wants you to be able to buy drugs on the street or in walmart - as long as you pay taxes on them. Don't let the slashdot paullowers tell you differently, their interest is in getting you to pay more taxes so they can pay less.

    And what's wrong with that? We quit spending money on this pointless "War on Drugs", and start making money off the Rastafarians. And we might finally have space in our jail system for "Real" criminals. The only people that should be against this is the Cartels and the ATF.

  • by Cytotoxic (245301) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:36PM (#42764997)

    Wow, that's an impressive display of logic!

    The "quit throwing people in jail for pot (and other drugs)" position is somehow "removing your power in the name of liberties while giving more power to the wealthy."

    How about this position: complete legalization of all drugs. Not just "medical MJ", not just "decriminalization", but full scale, "buy organic pot brownies at Whole Foods" legalization. No special sin taxes, just ordinary sales tax like any other item up for sale.

    That's the libertarian position. Any talk of "tax it just like alcohol" is a sop thrown in for those sitting on the fence who might need a little something in exchange for letting go of their anti-drug prejudices.

    There's lots of potential problems with the implementation of this policy, but "removing your power in the name of liberties while giving more power to the wealthy" sure as heck ain't one of them.

  • by jjsimp (2245386) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:37PM (#42765019)

    The only people that should be against this is the Cartels and the ATF.

    and Border Patrol, the Tobacco Industry, the Alcoholic Beverage Industry. Definetly, will help the junk food companies. Doritos and Taco Bell will make a killing.

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:37PM (#42765023)

    Well, for some people, their "normal" is pretty terrible and anything that can help them escape it is worth it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:42PM (#42765109)

    You can get anything from Silk Road. People focus on the drug aspect, but you can buy counterfeit coupons, fake IDs, real IDs, software, pr0n, weapons (until recently), school assignments, hit contracts, and the list goes on.

    And no one gives a shit that you don't like to get high, it's the principle of being able to do whatever you want with your money and your body. So quit worrying about why the rest of us like to get fucked up and stop asking questions that are nothing more than your thinly veiled criticism of someone else's life choices.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:47PM (#42765169) Journal

    That's great, as long as you don't begrudge others who do enjoy them. Imprisoning people who have fun in a way you disapprove of is no way to run a supposedly free country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:49PM (#42765197)

    A brilliant strategy: A stoned out populace that 1) pays taxes and 2) doesn't give a shit about anything.

    What's not to like?

    We already have that, it's called TV. The fact the viewer remains miserable doesn't matter, they docile and are too scared to fight back. The dulling of the masses while the oligarchy destroy the middle-class is all that matters.

    2. should be "about anything that matters".

  • Re:User error. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:52PM (#42765239)

    Actually, TFA says he got caught because he had several INCOMING packages intercepted by LE which lead to a raid on his house. TFA does not discuss how he was found out, so we don't know if it was poorly concealed shipping, mail drug dogs, snitch, or his own security fuckup. Neither buying nor selling drugs online is foolproof, there will always be a risk -- just like buying and selling drugs IRL.

  • by Githaron (2462596) on Friday February 01, 2013 @04:53PM (#42765253)
    I have heard of similar hacking sites that using Onion sites to host their stores within the Tor network anonymously. I would assume they do something similar. The same protocols are used to protect online political activists and speech in repressed countries. Anonymity brings out both the best and worst of society.
  • And businesses that would like to have employees that show up and work.

    I don't think you have an inkling of how common marijuana use is in Middle America. An enormous amount of people with steady, respectable employment and dedication to their careers are toking secretly. Legalizing marijuana would not suddenly make the nation's workforce drop out.

    And people who don't like having druggees steal their stuff so they can sell it for drugs.

    While that might continue to be a problem with hard drugs like heroin (but even here therapeutic approaches are better than an unproductive "war"), legalization of marijuana would result in prices dropping down to that of tobacco. How much of a problem is it now for people to steal from others just to buy a pack of ciggies?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:02PM (#42765335)

    Legalizing marijuana would not suddenly make the nation's workforce drop out.

    Also, legalizing pot wouldn't immediately make it ok for employees to be stoned at work. Alcohol is legal and yet most employers don't allow employees to be drunk at work. Businesses can still make sobriety a condition of employment.

  • Re:User error. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:09PM (#42765393)

    But bitcoin transfers are pseudonymously.
    Everyone must know about all transactions. But they only see pseudonyms in the form of account ids.
    Search for papers analysing the transaction graphs on google scholar for details. I.e. http://eprint.iacr.org/2012/584.pdf

    Now exchanging your bitcoins for traditional currency or physical goods without telling the world the real identity behind that pseudonym... thats the hard part.
    It just takes one mistake to link your pseudonym to your real identity and all past transactions have been uncovered too.

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:27PM (#42765567)

    "removing your power in the name of liberties while giving more power to the wealthy" is a problem of the Libertarian philosophy in general. They propose to abolish or equalize political power while pretending economic power is not a form of power at all...thus making the wealthy into oligarchs with absolute power over their domain.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:51PM (#42765779)

    Oh, cut the crap and demagoguery.

    Most libertarians would be happy to turn back the clock on government regulations and government taxes to more traditionally American levels, for the simple reason that the current situation is not sustainable. Progressives are so much into sustainability, why don't you start with finances?

  • by terec (2797475) on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:55PM (#42765841)

    Governments hate anonymity and payments they can't track, and they are just itching for excuses like "drugs" and "child pornography" to push through regulations to outlaw efforts like bitcoin and tor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2013 @05:55PM (#42765845)

    Anonymity brings out both the best and worst of society.

    I disagree. I think that anonymity just brings out the human condition in general. Your judgement thereupon is yours, and yours alone.

    Many people feel the need to hide who they are from the world, and are able to express their needs in an anonymous setting. Whether that need is to express their frustration with a corrupt totalitarian regime, or self-medicate with substances frowned upon by a government, or even simply to call somebody a fuckwad [penny-arcade.com] for whatever motivation compels them, anonymity does nothing but lay bare the desires of a person when they feel nobody is looking and judging. If you feel any of those are prima facie good or bad, it's difficult to know without understanding the context that person is coming from. Maybe buying pot helps the person with anxiety, maybe calling somebody a fuckwad is somebody's only outlet in life, maybe that struggling dissident is a con artist who simply wishes to weave a tale of woe... you can't know. Which is the beauty of anonymity.

    Posted anonymously for hopefully obvious reasons :-)

  • by Urza9814 (883915) on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:08PM (#42765963)

    That I'm fine with. Kill social and moral regulation entirely...If I want to marry another dude or shoot up drugs that's not your concern....end our imperial wars...and restore same financial regulations and taxes. Hell if you end the wars you may not need to do much with taxes....though I'd still favor a system that promotes greater wealth equality. High rate flat tax with the first 30k or so exempt, something like that...or just a wall st. transaction tax...

    That's what most socialists want....or at least where we'd like to start or actions we would strongly support.

    In America it seems that most people who identify as Libertarians are anarcho-capitalists...So as an anarcho-syndicalist I agree completely on the political side of their ideology, but cannot tolerate the cultural/economic aspect.

  • by OpenSourced (323149) on Friday February 01, 2013 @06:13PM (#42766039) Journal

    There's lots of potential problems with the implementation of this policy

    I can think of a big one. In five to ten years we would have ads with the slogan "Take Fakitol, it won't cure your cancer, but will make sure you don't give a shit about it". Once you legalize all drugs, there is a humongous incentive for big pharma to find the most addictive stuff they can and sell it to you, preferably when you are young and inexperienced. I'm not sure I want to live in that world.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday February 01, 2013 @07:13PM (#42766691) Journal
    The Tobacco Industry would be delighted to sell you dope, naturally it doesn't want you growing your own dope.

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