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Is Bitcoin Bringing The "Dark Web" Into The Light?

Tyler Durden's picture


Despite the best efforts of the search engines, the majority of the Internet is unsearchable with estimates of this “Unlit” Web as high as 90%. As ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes, some of this content (no one knows how much) is dark for a reason - hosting every form of criminal behavior known to man - but the rest from the increasing interest in anonymous Internet use in light of widely publicized government surveillance.

Among the least well understood emerging themes in technology, Colas points out, is the “Dark Web”, adding that Oscar Wilde famously opined that “All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.”  The existing structure of the Internet handles the first two very well.  The Dark Web is, apparently, for the third. The first innovation to move from “Dark” to “Lit” Web is bitcoin, but it certainly won’t be the last.

Via ConvergEx's Nick Colas,

If you are a fan of the movie The Princess Bride, you might recall the character of Dread Pirate Roberts.  His was as inherited position, with one man handing down the job to a worthy apprentice when he grew tired of the pirating game.  This approach allowed a series of people to benefit from the efforts of many predecessors rather than having to build up their own “Brand” on the high seas.

I am sorry to report that the name Dread Pirate Roberts is now not just a memory from a delightful book and movie, but the nom du guerre of a man accused of running a real life drug website and attempting to arrange several contract killings.  His real name is Ross Ulbricht, and these are the particulars of his case:

According to Federal prosecutors, the FBI arrested Ulbricht at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library on October 1st.  They confiscated his laptop computer, where they noted he was logged into a website call Silk Road as an administrator. This was a popular site for the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and other contraband.  The FBI had successfully tracked the operation of the site to Ulbricht, according to court documents related to the case.


In documents found on the seized computer, investigators found a journal, which they claim chronicles Ulbricht’s own development of the site back to its founding in 2010.  This included the odd fact that he had grown several kilos of hallucinogenic mushrooms so the site would have something to sell when it went live but before other sellers began to offer their own illegal drugs.


As if running an online portal for illicit drugs wasn’t bad enough, Ulbricht also allegedly tried to arrange six murders-for-hire.  The reported targets, all of who are still apparently alive, ranged from blackmailers to fraudulent sellers on the site.  These presumably eroded Silk Road’s reputation and user trust.


As of this writing, Ulbricht is being held without bail.  The Federal government confiscated 144,000 bitcoins as part of the investigation, worth $122 million as of today.  Several press accounts of the case theorize that this stash was only part of Ulbricht’s total holdings and that, if true, would give him access to hundreds of millions of dollars in notional wealth with which to flee the country.

The bitcoin piece of this story got some press, given all the recent interest in the online “Currency”; what got lost in the wash was the presence of the “Dark Web” – a parallel, if much larger Internet, to the one we all use every day.  A brief description here:

Google, Yahoo and Bing, among other search engines, only track part of the Internet – essentially the bits that website owners want the public to see.  Business owners strive to optimize their sites to appear on pages 1 or 2 of a given search, knowing that most users will not travel farther.  Time magazine recently ran a cover article on the “Deep Web”, essentially the Internet which search engines do not reach, and estimated that +90% of online content cannot be found by the typical search engines we all use every day.  Wired magazine puts the number at 99%.  Either way, most of the Internet is essentially “Dark”.


A large chunk of this “Missing” data must come from its formatting, unfriendly to Google/Yahoo/Bing search algorithms.  Just consider all the economic data available through the Federal Reserve’s datasets.  Typing “FRED inflation” into Google does get you to the St. Louis Fed’s excellent database of economic indicators, but from there you have to enter exactly what you want.  Google, among others, is busy trying to integrate this information; there is a link after the text to a paper describing this effort.  Another example of the Dark Web: your financial information at your bank or broker, held behind security firewalls but available to you with an ID and password.


Then there is the part of the Internet that doesn’t want to be found, and where the “Dark Web” means something else.  Silk Road is one example, and even though that site is now shuttered there are other places on the Dark Web where users can purchase illegal drugs.  From there, it gets a lot worse.  There are sites advertising contract killings, illegal pornography, money laundering, and stolen financial information.  Some press reports link global terrorism to the Dark Web.

Now, you won’t find the Dark Web on your Explorer, Safari or Firefox browser.  To find these sites you’ll need something called Tor, short for “The Onion Router”, or other software which essentially makes you anonymous online.  These browsers route your heavily encrypted traffic through a rabbit warren of servers around the world, making it nearly impossible to connect your computer to any individual site you might visit.  Tor was actually developed by the U.S. Navy for secure communication, but the software is available for free here:

Secure and anonymous access to the Internet is becoming a growth business, and Tor is one of the hottest tickets to that show.  The Google search phrase “Tor search” has tripled in the last year, and the query “Tor” is up 100% over the same period.  Like most fashion-forward tech trends, searches for Tor cluster on the coasts, in Oregon, Washington state, California and New York.  Since search engine capability doesn’t reach the Dark Web – by design, of course – TorSearch is now available for users, with a reported 130,000 sites listed and something like a tripling of use in the last few weeks, according to media accounts.

There is an obvious tension between a growth opportunity for business and the need for society to regulate and control the illegal use of any technology.  A few points here:

Aside from search engine companies, there is not much academic research dedicated to the Dark Web.  We spent the better part of day trolling the usual scholarly sites, with little success.


Law enforcement seems poorly equipped to handle the challenge.  There was one high profile takedown of a server hosting a range of illegal activities in Ireland over the summer (link below), but its success seems to have been caused by a flaw in the Firefox browser software used by Tor.  The flaw has since been fixed.  It wasn’t a technical gltich that brought down Silk Road – one of the supposed hitmen contracted for the murder-for-hire plot was an undercover agent.


We did find one consumer product offering related to Tor – something called pogoplug – which directs your web traffic into the anonymous network.  It cost $49 and has wifi for your cell phone.  The downside: Tor is slower than conventional access since your information transits through more connections than the customary point-to-point process.

All that said, we do have one innovation – bitcoin – that successfully made the transition from Dark to “Lit” web.  Silk Road was clearly an early enabler of the online “Currency” but it now has the tacit recognition of everyone from the Federal Reserve to business television. Like the Dark Web, its early appeal was anonymity, but its low cost utility for money transfer should allow it to survive increasing regulatory scrutiny.  It won’t be a flawless transition, considering its birth in the primordial ooze of the Dark Web, but it seems well on its way.

Can there be other innovations, developed in the shadows of the Dark Web, which hit the mainstream?  It seems inevitable.  Revelations of government spying around the world provide the notional demand for anonymous Internet use.  Oscar Wilde famously opined that “All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.”  The existing structure of the Internet handles the first two very well.  The Dark Web is, apparently, for the third. 


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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:40 | Link to Comment HedgeAccordingly
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There are many layers before you get to the core of the onion -

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:40 | Link to Comment CH1
CH1's picture

The future is in darknets.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:00 | Link to Comment Occident Mortal
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Just remember the real world is the offline one.

Spend too much time online and you start to believe anything is possible. It's not.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:03 | Link to Comment fonestar
fonestar's picture

The "real world" is just a computer simulation.


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:05 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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"remember the real world is the offline one"

Oh you are soooooo very wrong my friend!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:38 | Link to Comment fonestar
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In their simpleton brains:

virtual = fake

tangible = real

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:20 | Link to Comment ultraticum
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Greenspan:  " Let me say that currencies to be exchangeable have to be backed by something."

So says the former chief counterfeiter of legal tender notes and digits NOT BACKED BY ANYTHING, EXCEPT DEBT SLAVERY!!!!!!!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 22:19 | Link to Comment BigJim
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Slavery is all too real, even if it is The Collective doing the enslaving.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 23:31 | Link to Comment TruthHammer
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while shilling for Bitcoin takes a lot of time, I can't help but ask why you continue to apparently believe the fallacy that

"crypto-currency" or "virtual currency"  EQUALS Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is AN example of those things, they are not it.  You straw man the idea that virtual/crypto-currencies are here to stay, which is true, and then fallaciously follow up with Bitcoin is here to stay.


The single claim I have seen you or anyone make as to why this should be the case, is "first adopter" status, and that is a VERY weak reason to not turn paper profits into real ones by cashing out.  If the powers that be, (as you supposedly think you are opposing with BTC), choose to create an officially sanctioned, properly supported, fully-convertible "crypto-currency" that is equivalent to legal tender, their USCoin would wipe BTC out in a day.

Don't fool yourself to think privacy, anonymity, fighting fiat, or any other nonsesnse would stop it.  What people are chasing with BTC is easy money, that's why shoeshine boys are telling me about how their buddy set up a mining rig, and why LTC et al see growth as people chase the next e-Coin with a lower entry margin.

BTC is 50% penny stock, and 50% commodity (virtual commodity) and 0% currency.  It can and will be vaporized, either by a far more convertible official alternative, or by advancing technology leading to its undoing.  It will never reach "a million dollars" and it is completely driven by speculators and controlled by the 20%ers.

Feel free to shill some FUD in response, I'm all ears, and you've just been....refer to ID-name ;)


Tue, 12/17/2013 - 00:25 | Link to Comment Godisanhftbot
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saying this from day 1.  didn't realize (actually I did, but forgot) that the world is filled, infested , with infinite anii.

so, they confuse the first with the best or the most likely to survive.

where is your timex sinclair?



Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:30 | Link to Comment acetinker
acetinker's picture

Coug, aren't you the one writing a novella about the semi-cyber sisters?  Forgive me if I'm confused.  Anyway, can you elaborate on this topic?  I'll tell you in advance that my predisposition is that the real world is, in fact, offline.  However, I enjoyed reading your stuff, and wonder- is this really our future?  If you say so, how does it manifest itself into reality?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 13:06 | Link to Comment Dick Buttkiss
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"the real world is, in fact, offline."

The point is that the state wants all life (other than its own) public — which is to say, offline — so that it can tax and regulate it to its heartless heart's content. Thus does it not only make war on your privacy; it makes war on you secrecy, as well. What else, after all, is its quest for Total Information Awareness — — than the manifestion of this Orwellian nightmare, and what else has Edward Snowden begun to do than expose this fact?

Moreover, what else is the Deep/Dark Web but life's response to this nightmare? What else is life doing, in other words, than waking up in such a way that it can go about its business in light of its own desires?

Yes, life has its own dark side, and yes, the Deep/Dark Web gives free rein to it. But it does so only because it gives free rein to the human psyche, meaning that it includes the the worst, the best, and everything in between.

And because there is no stopping it, human life is destined, as never before, to be as public, private, and secret as it wants to be, sharing what it will as it will, with whom it will, whenever it will, for as long as it will.

So rejoice in it, secure in the knowledge that insofar as life's dark side is decentralized, it can steal, but it cannot institutionalize theft; it can enslave, but it cannot institutionalize slavery; it can kill, but it cannot institutionalize murder; it can, in short, commit any crime but one, and that is the crime against humanity that is the deep, dark, daily business of the state.

Thus will the Deep/Dark Web (and its soon to be Deep/Dark Money) put the state out of business once and for all.

Thu, 12/19/2013 - 20:16 | Link to Comment acetinker
acetinker's picture

I hear you, I think.  But having to go underground to practice what makes me happy is not freedom.  We are becoming the modern-day version of nomads.  It is what it is, but that doesn't mean it's good.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 04:27 | Link to Comment tradewithdave
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The implicit nature of a Ricardian contract is that "the receipt IS the transaction"... "The map is the territory" hence Greenspan's book title and self-justification for failure. There is no forgiveness in the blockchain.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:01 | Link to Comment SilverRhino
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Third life, where you dont have to deal with ring 0 reality just pesky virtual people trying to move to a higher virch. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:31 | Link to Comment SilverRhino
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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:03 | Link to Comment fonestar
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"The future is in darknets."


And the future is very dark thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:06 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:03 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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IMO it was unnecessary to mention "tor" in this piece. Tor is just a way of cloaking your traffic --  of becoming anonymous -- it doesn't get anyone into a special club.

All of the "dark" web sites are invitation only. If you are part of a gang or deal with them, you might get into their site. The site is probably just an IP address, has never been indexed by a search engine, and just in case it does the address might change at random times. G00gle never finds out about it, only a mole from the NSA would know.

Another way to black out a site is to allow only particular MAC addresses in. Every ethernet network card has a unique MAC address, firewalls look at them as someone tries to pass through it, and a firewall can block packets if the MAC is not found in an ACL (access control list). It's easy peezy to set that up. Couple mouse clicks and you're done.

Yeah, this shit is nerdy. Sorry.

Anyway nothing about "dark nets" that a seasoned network engineer couldn't set up in her sleep.

Oh and yeah, I have one for my personal use. Don't ask.


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:13 | Link to Comment Mad Mohel
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Pics from last year's Christmas party huh?

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:16 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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Shut up. It was a wild party. That chick did that thing again with her dress and the guy from HR went batshit. If he ever finds out that I got the whole thing up on a web site that the entire company visits like 1,000 times a day, I'm a dead man.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:17 | Link to Comment fonestar
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MAC addressing will have nothing to do with it.  Layer 2 ACLs are only useful on a lan and MAC addresses are easily changed (and spoofed).

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 22:15 | Link to Comment Exponere Mendaces
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And someone is also forgetting that MAC addresses don't persist across routed connections, they're merely used on local segments after an ARP request so the router/switch/whatever knows where to actually send the packet to.

Once it goes out an outbound interface to the internet, the MAC is now the interface that relayed the request, since it will receive any replies on that segment, wash-rinse-repeat until you hit the server across several "hops".

So MAC filtering doesn't do jack, and spoofing is extremely easy on any *NIX box right out of the gate.\


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 23:38 | Link to Comment Suisse
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Precisely, the source MAC address that will show up associated to the Layer 3 Data Unit (A Packet) will be from the previous router/switch. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 23:33 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
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Have to agree with fonestar here. MAC address information is layer 2. It gets stripped off at the first router hop and is replaced by the router's MAC address. This happens at every router hop.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:19 | Link to Comment seek
seek's picture

Actually Tor sites aren't IP based, they use .onion addresses, and basically are accessed through encrypted tunnels. Some sites on Tor have been indexed due to leaks of the site address and/or links using a http-to-Tor gatewat, like

For quite a bit of time Tor has been considered fairly secure, but increasingly it looks like more nodes on Tor are being run by authorities which collectively can compromise Tor and allow the end users to be identified. I'd avoid using it now, if not for security's sake, due to some the of the very disturbing content you can easily run into by accident.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:29 | Link to Comment diesheepledie
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The sites themselves do not use the DNS system but TOR itself runs on IP. In fact most of the nodes your traffic goes through are regular IP routers, only a few of the hops are TOR nodes. And it's still pretty safe if you don't do anything dumb to reveal your identity. Just don't mess with the browser or install any plugins, and for gods sake NEVER download anything. If some of the nodes you go through or exit on are 3 letter agency run it won't matter, as long as your going through at least one legit TOR node.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 22:06 | Link to Comment Godisanhftbot
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 I run into disturbing content on the Disney site.


 You must be talking about pictures of fornicating ants.


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:28 | Link to Comment Wen_Dat
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Not sure if this is a typical experience, but tor is slow as shit. Thought I was using dial up.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:37 | Link to Comment fonestar
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If you get a slow exit node, just try and build a new circuit.... that's what fonestar usually does.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 05:23 | Link to Comment Tompooz
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There is also the world of non-ICANN top level domains. You have to set up your browser to a name server that supports these domains and their sub domains.

Surprised that the article did not mention that, but instead talked irrelevant stuff about TOR.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:41 | Link to Comment fonestar
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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:55 | Link to Comment Goldilocks
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Why is there only 2,100,000,000,000,000 (2.1 quadrillion) units in BTC?

Bitcoin: The Simplest Non-technical Explanation

"Bitcoin is like gold: nothing backs it."     :-/

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:52 | Link to Comment fxrxexexdxoxmx
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You are one dedicated person fonestar. I hope you make millions on bitcoin. I know we have locked horns a few times but I honestly admire your tenacity.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:44 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
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144k bitcoins and he's hanging out like some loser in the san francisco public library? what a dumbass!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:51 | Link to Comment nmewn
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Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:09 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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Seriously. Should we explain how the "luzer" had rooted the public library terminals and was using their spare processing power to mine bit coins for his pool?

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:23 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
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Again, he had $122M worth and kept at it, hoping to make what, $122B? No plans for retirement to somewhere warm, just hang out with the winos all day every day? Maybe he should have stopped mining bitcoins and turned his attention to money laundering and moving to a non extradition country instead?

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 10:24 | Link to Comment the 300000000th...
the 300000000th percent's picture

Maybe he became addicted like farmville

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:25 | Link to Comment nmewn
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(Audible gasp) Why...he was like a common criminal or sumpin! ;-)

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:11 | Link to Comment knukles
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He's a fgoenneisutsa!r
Simple cryptography

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:56 | Link to Comment SilverIsKing
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He should have hung out at a strip club.  One Bitcoin would have bought him a lot of dances...and much more.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:42 | Link to Comment fonestar
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He was doing the right thing by keeping a low profile.  If all the sudden you quit your job and start to party it up every day I think you are going to draw attention.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:48 | Link to Comment phoolish
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Better than carrying billions of mystery bearer bonds over  the Alps.


Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:49 | Link to Comment nmewn
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So the MillionBitCoin question is, was Ulbricht using Tor, on his public connection at the library? Or did he become a creature of habit and someone roll him?

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:00 | Link to Comment Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

I'd trust TOR about as much as I trust google given it was developed by DOD.

Not the NSA though, those nice guys at the Navy, so you KNOW you can trust it.

Hi btw Keith, lovin your work champ, keepin us all free n shit.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:08 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

Maybe its gonna take lots & lots of updates...just like keep all those security keys safe ;-)

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:21 | Link to Comment seek
seek's picture

The FBI said they narrowed down his location and then basically waited around for him to log in, and once all the passwords were in arrested him. From what was described, he was really, really sloppy.

Of course it's entirely possible he was really, really careful, the NSA is who really figured it out and the rest is a cover, but there's some online message traffic from years ago that's public that seems to support the FBI version that he was insanely sloppy.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:44 | Link to Comment LetThemEatRand
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One of Snowden's revelations is that the NSA is routinely used to catch whatever target they want.  The information they obtain without warrants and other due process is then used to build up a case that can be explained without having to reveal that NSA was ever involved.   For example, they could use the NSA's information to make sure that the next person he talks to about killing someone is FBI.  Were it not for the NSA, the FBI never would have known how to connect to him.  There is then this nice, neat little story that he tried to hire a contract killer who was really FBI, and boom.  They got him and on its face it was just good police work and no laws were broken by said police.  In the pre-internet days, the same techniques could be used for say illegally wiretapping a phone, getting a bunch of useful information that is then used to ensare the target in the act of some criminal activity that would never have been known but for the illegal wiretap.  But no mention will ever be made of the illegal wiretap that led to the information, and it will be vigorously denied.   

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 02:02 | Link to Comment lakecity55
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You are 100% correct, but cops have been doing that ever since the first caveman cops.

Tell the solicitor you came by the evidence another plausible way or leave some stuff out, and you have a conviction.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:46 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

I tend to think he was just sloppy/greedy Seek. He could have scored and just moved on.

We're all creatures of habit, we do what we're comfortable with and we stay with it. Its our biggest weakness. One of the hardest things for me will be (if I ever decide/have to go underground) is to give up what I'm used to, my likes & tastes and form new ones.

Most people find it impossible to be like a chameleon even if their life or liberty depends on it.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 22:23 | Link to Comment chemystical
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In a former life I worked for a crime family.  (No, not the high profile Gambino type).  A top tier member of management told me that there are a million ways to get caught and you're a genius if you can think of a hundred of them.  I didn't agree with his math, and was definitely not going to say that, but agree 100% with what he was trying to express.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 19:59 | Link to Comment Goldilocks
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Lesley Gore - Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows (1:33)

Sunshine lollipops and rainbows (1:38)

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:02 | Link to Comment falak pema
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About the public, private and secret :

The web was supposed to be a public place with the possibility of going private at our personal inclination. As an extension of the real world it has to be regulated at the level of each host sight that is a portal to millions; in the good sense of regulation, aka civility. In its early days its been a fun place. Now normality and complexity is upon us as all these scams as the Wikileaks and Snowden iconic incidents have shown us. The NET has outgrown its infancy, its become adult, warts n all. 

For the secret we don't need the web, but the web by its dynamic impetus and fixatory fascination of instant capture and fleeting rapture has opened up this avenue increasingly making it a huge gutter of vicarious selfie indulgence and worse; we can be that in real life but not so universally. The web as illegal appendage with great leverage allows mafias to communicate in their illegal transactions world wide; just like in the real world but much faster and more comprehensively. Its sucks in the world like a whirlpool for the young.

No getting away from it the Net will get regulated like real life; by us as indiividuals, by corporate social or portal services and now increasingly by government. It is like real life now; only a new frontier which is expanding exponentially into the ether. It'll change our lives as the real world shrinks and the virtual world explodes.

Some of us already regret the hold it has on our progeny. Using it for the essential is still a novelty for the new generation. 

As for bitcoins...its spice of vice like rolling the dice. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:06 | Link to Comment Hulk
Hulk's picture

You read like a MAD fold-in...

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:06 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

so roll the dice. One liners are fine. 

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:14 | Link to Comment JuliaS
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Quoting an internet sociologist Alexander Bard - internet is a sentient being.

It is an order of magnitude above individual conscience - it turns us into neurons inside a brain. The question to ask here is: "what's in it for the neuron"? Inside an organism there are no "individual" cells. There is no main cell. It's the whole mass existing for the benefit of the mass. If a cell does break away from the norm and begins to exist for its own sake, refusing to die and let others take its place, we call it "cancer".

We fight to preserve our metaphisical concept of an individual, which in itself, has only been invented recently and is already gone. We used to be one with nature, one under god, then all of the sudden, the short-lived concept of "individual" was born simply to assist with the transition from statism to federalism. Now we're back to being "one" with everyone else - nodes in a network, cells in a brain. Individualism was merely a stepping stone between 2 paradigms that are quite similar in how they perceive their building blocks.

What's in it for the cell? Well, if we are indeed a brain, then all we can expect from it is shelter, fuel and communication, which is both, the task and the reward. No individualism, no concept of property. Simply a set of links - connections which are the source and measure of value.

What does it mean in human terms? It means a world very similar to one we're in. A world where people are more interconnected and at the same time more disposable. Fewer rights and distinctions between rights and priviledges. A more complex relationship with everyone else, yet a simpler individual function. What's a brain cell's "job"? It's ability to form and break connections in order to pass electrons. Our job likewise, is to process information - to channel it from one person to another, do it quickly and do it cheaply, forming the path of least resistance.

Once again, there isn't much in this new world for those valuing the invented concept of human individual and it is painful to transition into. Kids, I imagine, have much easier time figuring out what this new life is. To them "roleplaying" is second nature. To them having a single static identity is a as much of a disease as having multiple personalities was considered a disease to people before them.

Schizophrenia (as Bard puts it), all of the sudden is a winning formula! Wrap your melon around that!


.... and I've completely drifted off topic.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:45 | Link to Comment acetinker
acetinker's picture

No prob, Julia.  I do that shit all the time- drifting off topic.  It's kind of off-putting, knowing deep down inside that you're at least somewhat insane.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:15 | Link to Comment Ignatius
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One thing the big boys hate is the little guy cutting into their profits, illicit or otherwise.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:13 | Link to Comment cougar_w
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I'm not sure where this was headed.

90% of the Interweb is private corporate intranets and internal web services having zero public or even external visibility.

Not sure how much actual evil is taking place there.

Okay, maybe lots. So I take it back.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:19 | Link to Comment JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

I remember the 90's when there were no open social networks, no youtube, facebook, myspace or anything like it. IRC, FTP, BBS even - all of the web that mattered was dark. Commercial sites were of no interest and offered no valuable content. There was no internet banking, no streaming, no cloud. You simply knew "places". Knowing was half the game and having access was the other. Earning trust was part of the function.

I recall when "share ratios" were first implemented and when bytes themselves became currency. All of the sudden, you had to give in order to take.

The evolution of the internet economy as it paralleled physical history - that was fascinating to observe.

Formation of "internet money" is inevitable. I'm still not sure whether BTC is "it", but the future does indeed lie with digital currency. Fiat is already digital for the most part. The only problem is that there are too many formats, too many standards describing exactly the same thing. One currency will come out of this, with or without the NWO agenda. That's what the hive mind craves - a simpler way to transact.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 01:55 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

I miss the old style bulletin boards.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 20:52 | Link to Comment SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

Any corporate firewall gateways are going to be considered part of the Dark Web.   It's not like Visa, Capital One or any other massive financial institution wants to broadcast the location of it's front door for just anyone to walk up and start taking a crack at.   

And for the poster that mentioned MAC addresses ... seriously?   Like the layer 2 headers are stripped everytime it makes it through this neat thing called a router?  



Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:26 | Link to Comment Cycle
Cycle's picture

Maybe Bitcoin running on Freenet is the next iteration.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 22:21 | Link to Comment Exponere Mendaces
Exponere Mendaces's picture

Actually, one of the Bitcoin developers is going to launch a small mini-sat to store the blockchain. If things go well, it would be the prototype to having a iridium-style satellite network that is immune to land-based internet shennanigans.

Because we're smart like that.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:30 | Link to Comment Gaffing_Nome
Gaffing_Nome's picture

"This dark web"


There be useful non-dark uses for this "dark"
thing .

It's the olde net.

Too-Whit- grabbed a page, formatted->plain text. This is from the tier beneath the "top" web:

[edit] Political Advocacy * Men of Action - Volunteer who fights the good side of revolutions and wars. Currently
in Turkey, taking the fight to Al-Assad. * Hcidenwut - Politics, Occultism, Spy vs Spy, Revolution!' cleamet • BueeedPlanet.Info - Information on Telecommunication Intercqition Companies &
Installations • PURE EUROPE - Cleanse Europe of the dirt! * Keep Internet Open! - Small unofficial AnonOps site, currently instructing how to
DDoS MasierCard and other WikiLeaks opponents. * A website - Free speech advocacy. (About 50% uptime.) • paraZitc #2nd, clearnet 301 rcdirector - paraZiie; Illicit activities advocacy and censored
information archive. • Ncuterine NOT Org, cieamet - Why Non-Human Beings Should NOT Be Castrated.
Has Woin-lowl.Ore mirror, • House ofAnonymoui - Satirical manifesto regarding anonymous. • garaZilc # I st. clearnetJOl redirector - paraZite: Illicit activities advocacy and censored
information archive. • FREEFOR - USA-based FREEdom FORces developing a turnkey distributed
Temporary Autonomous Zone. FAO * The Movement ut'torism - New activist group organized in OnionSpace. • Wake uo Eurouc! - This is a call to arms! • Hcidcnwut - Politics. Occultisnri. Spy vs Spy, Revolution!' • Fund the [slamic Stru|;g1c Anonynlously - Fund the Islamic Struggle Anonymous via
[edit] Whistleblowing
|edit1 WikiLeaks • A Cats Mirror ofWikilcaks Cablcgatc site, clcamct - Includes cables currently redactcd or oftline. • WikiLcaks mirror #B - updates follow with up to 3 days delay.
[rdit] Oper.iliun AntiSec * Texas Takcdown Thursday: Chinsa La Misra IV - AntiSec messes with Texas, attacks
dozens of police systems and chief emails. * Fuck FBI Friday: IACIS Cybercrime Investieator Communications - email dump
including EACIS internal email list archives
|edit] Other * Indymedia Keyserver Secure PGP Keysen'er in Onionland * HBGarf Federal Attachment Dump - The HBGary email archive leaked by Anonymous. * Zyprexa Kills, mirror - The Zvprexa Memos. Internal documents that Eli Lilly tried to...


* AYPSELA news—A private minecraft server blog. • Aiiiericans for Disparity - Exploring disparody. • Beneath VT - Information on the steam tunnels at Virginia Tecli. • Cone's lair#2nd- Yeesha. Back with Cone's journal and some other stuff.. • Eiicyclopedia Dramatica R.ead-only hidden service for ED. • information, * OnionSphere - Personal site by nachasli for sharing (or tips and other silliness. • Show's Bios #1st - Redirects Meta to: Shew's Bloe #2iid. - Rcdir 201 l-OS-Ol * Steal This Wiki mirror - Steal this wiki mirror. no editing, hosted at NoReason. * Tile Croat's Blog — A Security related blog. • Tlic I luinaii Experiment - Human medical cxpcriincnte. We go, where few dare. (Direct
FH URL), * Tlic Most Danacrous Man in Cvbcrspacc - Scans of a Rolling Stone artjds. about Jacob
Appelbaum (ioerror). * Tor and blosxom - A Tor hidden service mnning on the blusxom blogging platform. * Tornado - Fomm. blogs. polls, registered or anon posting. User List. * True-Ansuu'mftiULCjantes&i.OM - A confession service based on a bash clone * We Are Hidden:: Archive - Tor backup
[edit I Forums / Boards / Chans * Uildcrsrouild Market Board 2.0 - New secure and improved UMB. * TheHiddeilHand - SnapBBS, TheHiddenHand collective communiciltion based on conspiracy, philosophy and uncensored infoniiation-currently seeking freedomhosting
invite • TCF-TorCarding Forums + Market. * Hidden Imase Site-HIS * TorShops Foruiiis - Forums for discussion, reviews and feedback about TorShops vendors • Tore hail - /b/. /i/, programming, revolution, tons of other boards • A Nice Place - A friendly board for discussion. Currently taking forum requests and
looking tar iiioderators. * Aiionchaii - Boards: /b/ - Raiidom, /a/ - Anime/Manga/NSFW. * TorduckiiiO #] st- Citadel BBS with cliatand IM to support Torduc kin. * LE+TOR [ntercliat - Law enforcement and Tor users can interact and sliare their opinioiis as liumaiis. • TOR Aiiswers - Like Yahoo answers, but with a Tor twisL • Paraiiomal Aliens n Shit- Discussion of the Paraiiormal, Aliens and Shit. * Demosthenes" Board - Demosthenes Board. • TriChaii - Rfvived, now only Ims /txt/ Textboard, /mlp/ My Little Poiiy, and /b/ Raiidom * Circle-Talk - A board on the front page ofdrcleService. * SnapBBS - The SnapBBS service. A temporarv dump of the public board index is here.

the original "text" is all hyperlinks/Doo-Dads.
Beneath this "dark" nets be other tiers. Mega caveat: going "deeper" (past onion/hidden wiki tier) will most definitely shorten ones' life span.
Down below is where NSA nightmares are made. Below that, I assume is where the NSA has nightmares. At bottom of it all are the root servers- aka the whole damn web infrastructure.

Nothing about it is illegal unless one is stupid/bereft of scruple and wishes to make money doing shitty things.

Otherwise- it can be be a great resource for finding out of print books, music, bric-a-brak.

don't let the hoopla/MSM scare you from exploring.

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 23:50 | Link to Comment TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Archie sez, "gopher:// broke."

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 04:04 | Link to Comment John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Wow, your comment reminded me of the old "core dump" you'd get back after a critical error in a program.  It was never very useful either.  I like your ASCII "encryption" algorithm though-very crptic indeed!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 21:35 | Link to Comment lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

help, I routed myself thru so many servers it takes too long to load ZH!

Mon, 12/16/2013 - 23:25 | Link to Comment The Iconoclast
The Iconoclast's picture

I think you're kind of overstating the dark web.  It can be as innocuous as that there's content you can only get to by logging into a site.  So any legit site that customizes content or provides certain content based on users logging in, the content that you can't see unless you're logged in is "dark" as far as Google, Bing, etc, are concerned.  It's one of the reasons Google is so freaked by the success of Facebook.

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 06:41 | Link to Comment dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

there's always a low-tech crowd that takes the majority seat until they get bored...  AOL... Nintendo Wii... Facebook...

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 02:22 | Link to Comment mijev
mijev's picture

Bitcoin is not by any means the first crypto/virtual currency but it's certainly garnered the lion's share of attention. Crypto currencies are here to stay and the sheer amount of money invested into bitcoins will make it difficult for a better designed infrastructure to elbow it out of the way. The next few months will be interesting as hardware wallets start to appear. 

Tue, 12/17/2013 - 07:30 | Link to Comment BoxDownbytheRiviera
BoxDownbytheRiviera's picture

It was Gabriel Garcia Marquez who opined that.  Not Oscar Wild, for those who care.


 Oscar Wilde famously opined that “All human beings have three lives: public, private and secret.” 

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:46 | Link to Comment doctor10
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Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.


-Ayn Rand

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