EPIX recently announced that they would be premiering a new documentary on the underground internet black markets known as the Deep Web. They just released a new trailer for this film and, I have to say, it looks exciting.
For those that may not know about the deep web, it’s in direct connection with Tor. In a layman’s explanation, Tor is a technology that bounces your IP address around to others and makes your internet browsing anonymous to prying eyes. It comes with its own web browser as well, allowing anyone to travel freely online. The technology is far more complicated than a simple explanation, but to ease into understanding it’s best to keep it contained.
With that sort of freedom though comes criminal activity. It’s not that the anonymity is a bad thing, just that there’s a gap between what the world law enforcement can control, leading to a need for innovation on their side. Some would argue that there needs to be no law enforcement measures taken to illegal activity conducted with Tor, but that’s a debate best kept for a different time.
Among these illegal activities were drug sales through a marketplace called the Silk Road. Set up like an Amazon-type site, anyone could browse the selection of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs for sale and purchase with a click of a button. While sellers were not confined to selling drugs, it was what the site became popular for over time.
People would pay for their drugs in bitcoin, making the deep web and Silk Road an almost perfect place for the anonymous cryptocurrency to prosper.
But who was the creator of this online drug marketplace? Who allowed for its thriving sales, taking a cut of each transaction along the way? Who was the person that called themselves the Dread Pirate Roberts?
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Dread Pirate Roberts of the deep web is none other than a man named Ross Ulbricht.
While viewing the trailer, it’s hard not to notice the possible bias in the case. Of course, if the film delivers factual evidence against the idea that Ulbricht was a master drug-lord of the deep web, then bias isn’t a problem. The trailer portrays the story as a possible battleground between government and drugs – one that is unfairly prosecuting Ulbricht to make a statement to the world.
It’s no question that the United States wants to keep drugs out of their system, and they clearly want illegal activity to cease before it begins. They’re currently in a position to prosecute Ulbricht for being a drug lord of the deep web, but testimonials in the DEEP WEB film may turn believers of their story into skeptics.
According to their masked interviewee in the film, there may very well be multiple Dread Pirate Roberts in the deep web underground. Ulbricht may not be the mastermind the FBI is making him out to be in the courts.
The film premieres this spring, as they’re currently following the trials.