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The Internet Businesses Encryption

After Over a Year of Police Action, Dark Net Black Markets Still Growing 87

When the original Silk Road was shut down in 2013, it provided definitive evidence that federal law enforcement was targeting online black markets. Later, after the fall of Silk Road 2.0 and the Evolution Market's admins running off with their customers' money, you might have expected people to become more wary of dark net markets — but that doesn't seem to be the case. The number of products being bought and sold is up significantly since last year, and it's quadrupled since the original Silk Road fell. "The most enduring institution on the Dark Net is Agora. Founded in December 2014, amid the rubble of Silk Road's fall, Agora now accounts for 37 percent of all Dark Net product listings. It's a drug-heavy market with substantial supplies in marijuana, ecstasy, prescription drugs, and stimulants—and nearly any other drug you can imagine."
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After Over a Year of Police Action, Dark Net Black Markets Still Growing

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  • Maybe all of the negative association was the reason Darkcoin changed its name to Dashcoin?

    • Darkcoin changed its name to Dash, sans the 'coin'. There was already a preexisting Cryptonote-based currency called Dashcoin when Darkcoin made the switch.
  • The honey tastes sweet, doesn't it?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @12:51PM (#49682887) Journal
    Haven't 'drugs' been winning the war on drugs by almost unbelievable margins more or less continually since it was declared?

    Why, if they were as dangerous as my kindly DARE officer claimed, we'd probably be living under the iron heel of a drugs occupation force right now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Like along the Rio Grande Valley? There are places outside of towns you just don't go any more.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HighBit ( 689339 )

        yeah indeed, drug cartels have taken over in parts of Mexico and other Central / South American countries

      • I drive over the Rio Grande pretty regularly- care to go into a little more detail?

      • by chihowa ( 366380 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @03:31PM (#49684495)

        You don't go there because of the war on drugs, not the drugs themselves. The US became a much safer place when the war on alcohol was abandoned and the world will be a safer place when the war on drugs is abandoned.

        Black markets create a criminal element, so it's important policy to only use prohibition when absolutely necessary (contract killing and the like). The war on drugs have killed more people and caused more economic damage than drugs ever have.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:07PM (#49683037)

      The actual winners:

      • police--budget and personnel increases.
      • lawyers--the lawyers always win.
      • police equipment manufacturers--where the increased budgets are spent.
      • private prison owners--constant supply of inmate and inmates are profit.
      • manufacturers --constant supply of slave labor, better known as inmates.
      • small business--they don't have to pay ex-cons as much.
      • drug testing companies--big brother.
      • politicians--winning elections because they win elections by being tougher on crime, (drugs), that the other guy.
      • You missed a big one:
        drug cartels -- when it's illegal, you drive up the price and limit the number of sources, which also limits the big players to those who operate without regard for the law in general.

      • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @02:40PM (#49684095)
        Do not forget another big winner, retrogressive social reformers. The war on drugs has been a powerful tool in keeping racism alive while 'proving' it is all their fault in the first place and that brown people are simply too weak willed to join polite society.
      • It's not just the private prisons that profit. The correctional officers' unions lobby relentlessly against any legislation to reduce federal prison sentences. It's perverse.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:20PM (#49683169) Homepage Journal
      Depends on what you consider "Winning". Sure, something like 85% of US citizens have tried marijuana and it's now not uncommon for presidents to admit to marijuana and cocaine use in their past (But they'd never do it NOW, oh no!) But it's a huge windfall for privatized, for-profit prison systems and an excellent tool for oppressing minorities in ever-greater numbers. It's also been wonderful for anyone with an agenda of eroding the bill of rights and militarizing police forces. I'd go so far as to speculate that the difference between being president and not being president, for the last three presidents, was that they didn't get caught. Naturally that depends on exactly how much of what they had on them at any given time, but all 3 seem like the kind of people who'd have a pretty decent stockpile of stuff they like. And if you're a black dude, misdemeanor possession can easily be turned into multiple felonies.

      So yeah, sucks for the average citizen, awesome for the people who actually make the laws.

  • Whack-a-mole (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @12:55PM (#49682923) Journal
    Black markets pop up when free markets aren't available. Legalizing drugs would do wonders for the economy. Not only do we spend a heap of money on the war on drugs: militarized police, overburdened legal system and oversaturated prisons, but then there's also the costs in terms of innocent bystanders who are injured or killed in this war. Over 70,000 people have been killed [] by drug cartels in Mexico alone. How do a lot of terrorists fund their activities? By selling heroin. If they were available for over-the-counter purchase at a reasonable price, like alcohol & tobacco are, it would make a whole world of problems disappear. That's not to say that there wouldn't be new problems in terms of addiction, but these problems would be minor in comparison to the ones we have now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Addiction rates pretty much universally drop in places where legalization/decriminalization are implemented.

    • Re:Whack-a-mole (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:23PM (#49683191)
      While complete legalization has its downsides, the current drug prohibition and resulting paramilitary law enforcement response, not to mention everything else associated with the "War on Drugs" is far, far worse on so many levels. I'd go so far as to say the only way you could even remotely consider the War on Drugs as successful would be if your goal was to criminalize large swathes of the population, while putting them under a militarized, invasive police state where things like privacy and other rights are on the road to becoming a distant memory.

      Yes, there would be problems with addiction, just like there are now with alcohol and tobacco. It would also be far, far less costly to deal with those than with the negative affects of drug prohibition.
      • by swb ( 14022 )

        I question how bad the "addiction" problem would actually be.

        I think some subset of the population may be prone to abusive use of opiates, but I would bet that most would settle into a maintenance habit that might technically be called addiction but wouldn't otherwise be a major obstacle to living a more or less normal life.

        And that's of people who actually would find the effect pleasant. I've known many people who *complain* about opiates they get after surgery -- "it makes me too sleepy", "it makes me ki

        • I also don't think legality factors into it massively, particularly if it's legalized with the facts about safety and addiction clearly marked on the package.

          The reason I don't get up in the morning and smoke heroin has nothing to do with the law, it's very similar to the reason I don't start the day with a double whisky - it's because it wouldn't have a positive impact on my life. Generally nobody believes they'll be caught anyway - there might be a little novelty at first, but by and large the people who

          • by swb ( 14022 )

            I think you're right if you're talking about who would start using opiates if they became legal tomorrow -- most people who don't abuse them now wouldn't rush out to abuse them tomorrow just because they became legal.

            That being said, I think there would have to be limits on what big pharma could do in terms of advertising and marketing. Considering the kinds of ad pushes you get for Naproxen or other drugs, I could see Big Pharma being less than honest about the risks and subtly hooking people.

            If it was fr

        • Similar experience here. On several occasions I was given demerol in a hospital. The first two or three times it was like the best buzz ever. All my pain was gone and I was floating on a happy cloud of bliss fog. After that the next few times i got no pain, bliss and nausea like a boat ride in 12 foot waves. Never really enjoyed it once the nausea hit. Maybe if i took gravol first.....

    • "Laws too severe are seldom obeyed" -Ben Franklin.

      Addicts by definition will put themselves at risk unreasonably, so you have to be a fool to think addicts would stop even if you passed a law where the punishment was a shortening of their lifespan or torture them so badly it leaves them with permanent medical conditions! ( like the drugs already do to them on their own. )

      The simple solution is to destroy the black market (which is about as free market as you get; it exists outside regulation...) you simply

    • There's also the current problem of getting reasonably pure drugs at a known efficacy. If the drugs were legalized, they could be regulated, so we could be sure that our LSD was actually LSD, and of a known dosage. It seems very likely that this would eliminate a lot of medical problems associated with drugs.

  • I can't find anyone selling SuperCool or Glint in any form; powder, gel, runtime-capulets, particulary-waveform, in-grease suspension, toenail suppositories, etc.

  • by Thaelon ( 250687 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:00PM (#49682981)

    The exact same thing happened in the '90s with online purchasing.

    At first everybody thought it was crazy. "Who would give their credit card details to people over this new fangled Internet thing?" There were legitimate businesses and total scams. But things grew and grew, and now nobody bats an eye about one click purchasing on Amazon.

    I figure this will go the same way. Right now it's the wild west, but things will settle down and eventually nobody will bat an eye about spending a few doge on an impulse.

  • ... and we can't fix that.

    As long as people want stuff, someone's going to supply it.

    It's not a war, it's whack-a-mole.

  • I read a little about how this system works because it seemed soooo sting-able. It turns out nope, they send their shit through the mail. THE MAIL! The US postal service. I have an idea. Put a drug sniffing dog at every USPS hub. Problem solved. 100% of packages intercepted. Why the hell aren't they doing this?!
    • Erm, would not work, they are super careful to double airtight bag shit.

      And not just USPS, stuff gets sent in the mail international, passing through customs of numerous countries, still undetected.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        I am sure you are right. The criminals would adapt quickly there are plenty of inexpensive packaging materials that could be used which be sufficient to defeat detection by a dog. The biggest challenge for drug packers would probably be developing handling protocol to avoid contaminating the outer packaging with product.

        That does not need to be perfect either just 'pretty good' assuming the postal service/government deployed a detective device more sensitive than a dog it would have to be tuned down other

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You used an illegal scenario, but how about these:

          Did the guy working packing at the Amazon eat a poppyseed-lemon muffin on his coffee break? Instant FP (goes for inhalers too, btw).

          Did someone who handles large amounts of cash also wrap a package? There's likely trace amounts of cocaine present on the outside of the package then.

          Did someone wrap a package after their macrame class or civil war re-enactment? Oils from the rope will likely cause an FP.

          There are so many drugs out there that to test for all

      • I seriously doubt some dumbass that's the equivalent of a darknet ebay seller can reduce the particle count to below what a dog can sniff.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, let's waste more money trying to control people's lives! Let's also force drug users to go to even more dodgy sources for their drugs! The number one cause of death amongst drug users is taking contaminated drugs, so let's have more of them die. It's for the sake of goodness and morality! Why the hell aren't they doing this?!

    • there was a thread about this last time dark-net markets were discussed on /., there is a law against drug sniffing or any other type of detection method against US postal items, it relates to an unlawful search, i.e. each parcel is the same as a car or home search, unlawful unless probable cause or a warrant.

  • by neo-mkrey ( 948389 ) on Wednesday May 13, 2015 @01:40PM (#49683355)
    I don't know about that, I can imagine quite a bit.
    • by neminem ( 561346 )

      Indeed. Do they have ThreeEye from the Dresden Files? Spice melange from Dune? Glitterstim from Star Wars? Jet from Fallout?

  • For a second I thought the title said Dark Matter Black Markets still growing like wow people are trained the stuff on the black market? Wow
  • No surprise. Has been running almost a century now, no positive effects, but a lot of negative ones. To any sane person that would suggest it was not a good idea in the first place, but, quite obviously, its proponents are insane.

  • By making drugs illegal, they become expensive and create a pool of dark money which can then be rerouted to:

    1) Banks ( [] )
    2) Federal agencies and lobbyists ( [] )
    3) Three letter agencies ( [] )
    4) Local police ( [] ) where traffic stops are now an entrepreneurial opportunity, as in "I had a thought about drugs, so give me all of your money."

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982