The Silk Road trial of founder Ross Ulbricht in New York is gathering a lot of media attention. Negative attention for any Bitcoin-related issues is not uncommon in the mainstream, but RT America has discovered some issues with the prosecution’s case that could easily favor an acquittal for Ross Ulbricht.
Screenshots and Hacks are what FBI brings to the Table
Many people are looking closely at the case for the precedents it can set due to how the FBI secured its evidence against Ross Ulbricht. Considering the fact that they hacked the Silk Road website without a warrant to take information used in this trial, this case can have major ramifications on all online businesses if the evidence taken without warrant is allowed as admissible. The precedent would then be set for the U.S. government to hack any website without a warrant. This may lead to cause for a dismissal.
Another issue is the prosecution seems to be building much of their case on screenshots of forum discussions that they claim is between the FBI and “Dread Pirate Roberts”. They claim Ulbricht and “Dread Pirate Roberts” are one and the same, but to this point, have nothing more than screenshots to create this assertion. The other end of the conversation could be anyone, and the prosecution is having trouble showing Ross’ direct involvement.
The key to the trial is to tie “Dread Pirate Roberts” and Ross Ulbricht together as one person who led Silk Road from beginning (2011) to end, in October 2013. Ulbricht’s defense is he started the site, and then gave up control to Roberts thereafter, and he is, therefore, not responsible for the illegalities committed thereafter.
The trial is just in it’s early stages, and it will be interesting to see if the prosecution’s case has more than just screenshots and innuendo. Also, how much latitude the court gives the FBI for ill-gotten Silk Road information, and what that means for online policing going forward. Is the FBI hacking websites without a warrant a standard of justice the courts want to accept? Stay tuned to CCN for the latest on the Silk Road trial.
Should evidence gotten without a warrant be admissible in court against Ulbricht? Is this part of a larger scale attack on Internet freedom and e-commerce? Share above and comment below.