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How The Deepweb has Shifted Away From The Politics That Created it

In 2011, the Silk Road was made open to the public as the first darknet market, and unlike the markets today, the user-base described the community as a family of like-minded individuals. Users all around the world met up with more in common than the desire to buy drugs. Dread Pirate Roberts, the founder of the original Silk Road, created the market with a goal in mind; he wanted a “monumental shift in the power structure of the world,” he tells forbes.

Dread Pirate Roberts articulated libertarian political motives for his ventures. Previous research argues that there is a significant political component present or involved in cryptomarket drug dealing which is specifically libertarian.

With the Silk Road long gone and DPR serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, the entire focus of marketplaces and forums on the deepweb has shifted away from what it once was. I’m not trying to assert that the darknet markets were ever just a movement or a place for people to oppose the law in a new way. Vendors were always trying to make money. Nobody would have contributed if it was simply a political statement. What I’m trying to put forth is that the Silk Road was a financially viable marketplace that was created with personal liberties in mind.

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Researcher & Reddit user, Gwern, linked to an insightful read on how the times are changing in terms of libertarianism and the deepweb. There was an objective way of going about analyzing this information as well. A program was used that scanned various deepweb websites for terms that would be related to libertarianism and political freedom. Here’s an excerpt detailing what was done.

The analysis is based on crawls of cryptomarket forums conducted between October 2013 and March 2015 which contains posts dating back to 2011. 2.6 million forum posts were extracted from five cryptomarket forums: Silk Road, Silk Road 2.0, Evolution Marketplace, Agora Marketplace, and Black Market Reloaded. The omni-forum, a forum where users can discuss multiple marketplaces, The Hub was further included. The five market forums were chosen as they represent some of the largest platforms for discussions of cryptomarkets and have operated for extended periods of time. We included The Hub as it is the only omni- forum located on the dark web. These crawls contain a large proportion of what has been written on cryptomarket forums from 2011 to 2015 as the economy generally has centered on these markets (see Soska and Christin, 2015) and should therefore be considered as representative of the cryptomarket discursive order. March 17th was chosen as a cut-off point being the last date where more than 2 of the studied sites were operational as Evolution Marketplace absconded with user funds.(Source)

The sites were crawled, pulling specific words and phrases and running them in context to see if they are applicable to the libertarian movement that so much of Silk Road was full of.

After processing, our dataset consisted of a vocabulary of 16,133 terms represented in 417,491 documents, each containing at least 10 unique terms from the vocabulary

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The existence of Silk Road almost directly correlates with the political discussion and movement that was part of the backbone that spawned many of the marketplaces we know now. Their results show almost exactly that.

The results are shown in Figure 4 wherein we observe a trend towards a higher prevalence of libertarian discourse from 2011 to the end of 2013. In the end of 2013, when Silk Road was seized, we observe an abrupt downward change in the prevalence of libertarian discourse.

After the fall of the original Silk Road, many markets have risen to take the place it held, but the libertarian movement that sparked a new age of online marketplaces never returned. There’s arguments on whether or not this is a good thing for the future of the darknet markets, or if this will cause their demise. Someone mentioned that less politics will lead to more efficient and resilient marketplaces, encouraging them to be run more like a legitimate business. Others argue that the lack of political motivation doesn’t change anything because it never mattered anyway.

You can read more about the study done on deepweb politics here: “Mixing politics and crime–the prevalence and decline of political discourse on the cryptomarket”

And if you don’t know much about the tales of the Silk Road, here is a well put together timeline that does a great job at explaining everything: Silk Road Timeline

Source: Link

Via: Reddit

5 comments

  1. Interesting Article!
    I think that most of the content from the SR-Era was pulled from the SR1 Forum, Maybe also BMR. Those were big forums and many user enjoyed reading and writing. Today there is no Forum which is worth spending more time. Alphabay is how many times bigger than SR1 was by listings? 5 times? Now look at the Forum….

    It would have helped if we all had used a forum which was not bound to a marketplace. Its impossible to enforce a self-dynamic movement…Everything is split up now and no one really sees himselfe as part of a community like it was before with SR1…. I miss those days. And I miss DPR…I really do

  2. tor-intelligence-guide

    deep-web was always part of the tor, the tor that is financed by the american military intelligence, it means it was created to be used in the Arab spring, in the CIA revolutions, not in the US/EU against the west Europe, tor users in the est are spied the same as bitcoin users.
    it means, tor developers always collaborated with the FBI and NSA, “suddenly FBI found a bug and exploited it and arrested people”. only morons believe in that, tor developers gave the bug to the FBI, then later they patch it to prevent that China/Libya/etc use it too.

    the tor and its markets were created to fail when the U.S. is in question, it was created to be success in the case of China, Iran, etc.

    all people know that military intelligence has nothing to do with drug dealers, but during the time FBI sit on their head and in the end, tor developers started to collaborate with the fbi. I think the fbi misused pedophilia to convince military to help to the fbi. tor developers are surely working for the military intelligence, the same as the main providers of tor nodes (CCC club from germany and many others). they had to create the network of tor nodes, not only to create the software.

    I can conclude the tor is created to create secure communication for activists that work for the CIA in Iran, China and other countries that are not under control of American politicians i.e. billionaires, the tor is created to secure profit for so called military industrial complex (boeing, general dynamics, utc, etc) managed by the CIA CEOs and owned by the banks and billionaires. the cia produce war without end.

    now you understand politics better and you see why tendencies in deep-web are changed during the time, because the fbi mixed themselves and jumped on the head of military intelligence until they accepted to help to the fbi. tor developers just do what military intelligence tells them to do. all drug dealers sitting in the prison, because of the fbi and Tor developers, should visit tor developers when they get freedom, to speak with them of course, what did you think? :)

  3. tor-intelligence-guide

    Hmmm, here is little longer info about Firefox and Mozilla…

    Mozilla executives sold themselves to the big corporations that are the right hand of the NSA. Some drug dealers were arrested because of “the bug in Firefox” i.e. executives ordered to employees to collaborate with the FBI.

    What is problem with Mozilla? There are several problems, not only one, but the main problem is that corporations can corrupt executives and implement their code or “solutions” in Firefox. It has vital influence on future development of Internet applications.

    1) Mozilla made partnership with The New York Times and The Washington Post in June 2014, funded by $3.89 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, to build a new, content and commenting platform. This platform will serve to them to track private life of users, “in the name of targeted marketing” or better said: in the name of profit they get from NSA.

    The Mozilla Corporation’s relationship with Google has been noted in the popular press, especially with regard to their paid referral agreement. Mozilla’s original search deal with Google expired in 2011, but a new deal was struck, where Google agreed to pay Mozilla just under a billion dollars over three years in exchange for the browser to leave Google as its default search engine. All of us know already that Gmail and Google work for NSA too. Mozilla Firefox maintains relationships with Bing, Yahoo, Amazon.com and eBay. Mozilla Corporation profited 53M USD in 2005 and proportion derived from Google was 95%, in 2011 they profited $163.5 million and 85% was from Google.

    But there is more about Google and Mozilla… The release of the anti-phishing protection in Firefox 2 in particular raised considerable controversy: Anti-phishing protection, enabled by default, is based on a list updated twice hourly from Google’s servers. The user cannot change the data provider. The browser also sends Google’s cookie with each update request. Firefox’s privacy policy states that Google may share (non-personally identifying) information gathered through safe browsing with third parties, including business partners.

    2)The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) opened an audit of the Mozilla Foundation’s 2004-5 revenues in 2008, due to its search royalties, and in 2009, the investigation was expanded to the 2006 and 2007 tax years. In November 2012, the audit was closed after finding that the Mozilla Foundation owed a settlement of $1.5 million to the IRS. They gave money and the case was closed.

    3) At Mozilla Corporation, the board of directors is appointed by and responsible to Mozilla Foundation’s board. In March 2014, half the board members resigned!!! The remaining board members are: Mitchell Baker, Executive Chairwoman, Reid Hoffman, former CEO of LinkedIn, Katharina Borchert, CEO of Spiegel Online (Spiegel is right hand of German BND), Chris Beard, CEO (interim), former CMO. I didn’t research if Linkedin is NSA company but you can imagine who has interests from gathering information about so many people in one place: NSA.

    But who is Mitchell Baker? She is from early days in Mozilla but she could be corrupted during the time, even without corruption, her salary is 500 000 USD. That’s woman that accepted DRM (digital rights management), closed-source from Adobe, that’s contradiction to the history of Mozilla as open source project. The purpose of DRM is to support commercial video streams, it is inclusion of proprietary technology to support Netflix and other DRM-encumbered videos in their browsers. Not just Hollywood; the BBC has been one of the major “rights holder” voices calling for the addition of DRM to the web.

    It is clear that Hollywood and others paid, corrupted, Mozilla executives like Baker. That’s how they make business. Not only Mozilla board members sold themselves for money, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and its founder, Tim Berners-Lee, also decided to add DRM to HTML5.
    That’s typical way of work of NSA and corporations: corrupt people who decide about web standards and you will get what you want.
    Mozilla in the past and Mozilla today are not the same, consequently and Firefox. HTLM5 and Firefox are subordinated to interests of corporations. After all, when anti-SOPA/ACTA/etc protests are forgotten, Holywood industry corrupted people in Mozilla and W3C and they got what they wanted.

    4) They go even further, they prosecute people who publish any weakness of DRM code, so, hackers can misuse it to hack computers. The US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the European EUCD, Canada’s C-11 and so on – prohibit revealing information that can be used to weaken DRM, and previous security researchers who disclosed information about vulnerabilities in DRM have been threatened and prosecuted. For example, when word got out that Sony BMG had infected millions of computers with an illegal rootkit to stop (legal) audio CD ripping, security researchers stepped forward to disclose that they’d known about the rootkit but had been afraid to say anything about it. Virus writers used the Sony rootkit to cloak their own software and attack vulnerable systems.
    The inclusion of Adobe’s DRM in Firefox means that Mozilla will be putting millions of its users in a position where they are running code whose bugs are illegal to report.
    Just to inform you, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera also adopted DRM.

    5) So, open source is just blabla like this: “Mozilla is a not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to free its users”. Bullshit. Mozilla’s open-source sandbox can be examined and compiled by users who have access to its source code. It is fully transparent and “open” to them. But if users modify the sandbox in any way – if they add new features or improvements to it – the Adobe plug-in can detect the alteration and it will refuse to pass any more decoded video. The Mozilla sandbox comes with total openness, but without any of the freedoms that the free software movement cherishes. How the Adobe module validates the sandbox is a mystery – a proprietary technique whose workings are illegal to report, thanks to the same laws that ban reporting vulnerabilities in DRM.

    It is clear that people need a new web browser (and a new OS), but to hire many programmers is expensive and all programmers should be checked that they don’t work for NSA. Only rich people can finance something like that and they are not against government, they made money with the help of politicians. If Google develop some product, you should be careful… and now I can say the same for Mozilla. Even libraries for software should be created from zero, it is already infiltrated by NSA.
    If something is open source, it doesn’t mean it is really checked, it happened already in the past to publish that there is backdoor in open source software and nobody saw it many years. Open source is really good for NSA hackers, they get source code and try to find the way to break it. Therefore they popularize open source so much, ordinary people can’t check what is good for them and what is not.

    if you didn’t understand fully what means DRM in HTML5, here is short explanation. In the future, wee will have the Web where you cannot cut and paste text; where your browser can’t “Save As…” an image; where the “allowed” uses of saved files are monitored beyond the browser; where JavaScript is sealed away in opaque tombs; and maybe even where we can no longer effectively “View Source” on some sites, it is a very different Web from the one we have today. It’s a Web where user agents – browsers — must navigate a nest of enforced duties every time they visit a page. It’s a place where the future Tim Berners-Lee or Mozilla, if they were building a new browser from scratch, couldn’t just look up the details of all the “Web” technologies. They’d have to negotiate and sign compliance agreements with a raft of DRM providers just to be fully standards-compliant and inter-operable. That will have influence on development of WWW in the future.

  4. Though the info above is notable, there have been around a hundred privacy related systems created in full each year in hobby or academic projects, all of them destroyed by the criminal americans with various “national security” ploys. for decades torproject has been managed by its enemy and what was thousands of unique projects per year has been reduced to a few disinformation fronts this last decade. US DIA/DCS and various USDOJ terrorists have menaced gradeschool children who devised how to count and countless developers murdered under FBI Sean Joyce (who extorted the tor code changes at gunpoint and did “Web Beacon”) … we’ve coded dozens of complete projects, destroyed by FBI, IN-Q-TEL, or their terrorist proxies. Check in on us at our new office in Tysons Corner 1 block from silver line metro from DC.

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