The shadow network for the drug trade
The Dark Net was created for anonymity, and criminals took immediate advantage. In 2017, the Russian Anonymous MarketPlace, a shady drug-dealing site, had 14,000 active users. It was shut down and eventually replaced by something more advanced — a system of automated shops. It required no personal communication with a dealer or a courier and was used by millions. They only needed access to the Deep Web. For now, police can’t curtail these trade platforms and their distribution network.
The problem is not just anonymity; it’s also the product itself. ’Classic’ drugs lost out to ‘bath salts’ in Russia, a cheap synthetic dope. It costs $10-15, so it is affordable even for high school students. Teenagers are also pulled into criminal schemes as drop men — individuals who stash drugs for addicts all over the city.
Volunteers help authorities fight against the Dark Net dope market. Andrey Masalovich, a cybersecurity expert, created an interactive map which displays drug deals in Moscow in real-time. He mined data from popular Dark Net markets. Volunteers organise system resistance for Deep Web drug distribution on the streets.
According to Andrey Masalovich, “the problem of drug dealing in the country can’t be solved. We can cut it to a level that won’t hinder our future. Like now”. But, will it ever be possible?