Drug Trafficking

Drug Trafficking

Prabhjyot Kaur (University of Delhi, India) and Puneet Kumar Kaushal (Lucideus Technologies, India)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch032
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Abstract

In an increasingly intrusive era, the deep web is considered to be a bastion of privacy, while for others it is one of the most evil places to exist. The deep web is a part of the world wide web that cannot be readily accessed by conventional search engines, and a small part of it forms the dark web. The enshrouded nature and complex methodology required for access have made dark web a platform for carrying out numerous illicit activities, one of them being drug trafficking. This article explores how deep web and dark web operate, the trade of illegal drugs online in so-called cryptomarkets or dark net markets, the foundation and shut-down of Silk Road, the new cryptomarkets that popped up to take its place, the use of ‘the onion router' or TOR browser in this anonymous sale and purchase of illegal drugs, the role of encryption and cryptocurrencies, the existing and suggested tactics of the law enforcement to prevent internet-facilitated drug trafficking, and the future research areas.
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Background

Drugs are defined as all substances and chemicals that should not be used for any purpose other than for medical and scientific research; if they are used for purposes other than these, they are called illicit drugs (Kassaye, 1999). Drugs are as old as human history and have been used for a variety of reasons in plethora of cultures; for religious purposes, for entertaining purposes, for altering the states of consciousness, as a matter of proud and for obtaining relief from pain, sadness and distress(Parmar et al., 2015).The black trading of drugs starts developing in jurisdictions where the law prohibits or restricts their sale (Drug trafficking, 2017). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime defines drug trafficking to bea global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2017). Several studies and researches have been conducted on the illegal trade of illicit drugs on the dark net. Martin gives a detailed description of the illegal drugs trade on the dark web, presenting the concepts of cryptomarkets and their commercial operations, analyses online and offline markets and discusses and suggests law enforcement practices (Martin, July 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dark Web or Dark Net: Dark web can be defined as that miniscule portion of the deep web and hence the internet composed of websites whose IP addresses are intentionally hidden from the public using anonymizing tools such as TOR.

TOR: TOR or the onion router is free downloadable software that hides the IP addresses of the computers and hence lets its users protect their identity from traffic analysis.

Cryptomarkets: A cryptomarket may be defined as a platform for exchange of goods and services, both legal and illegal, on the dark web. They remain hidden from the world due to the use of anonymizing browsers such as TOR based on encryption techniques. Majority of the cryptomarkets undertake the sale and purchase of drugs.

Surface Web: It can be defined as that portion of the internet whose websites are indexed by search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and others. They are easily accessible and do not require the use of special software as needed for the deep web.

Block Chain: As the name suggests, block chain is a chain of blocks that serves as a public ledger of the Bitcoin network revealing ownership information of all the addresses. It is like a data file that contains the history of all the Bitcoin transactions that have taken place till now. Every block is based on its predecessor and contains information about the new transactions that got validated through it.

Drugs: A drug can be defined as any substance, chemical or natural, that is consumed for purposes other than medicinal and scientific.

Cryptocurrency: It refers to any digital currency that uses certain encryption methods to secure and validate the transactions and generate new currency of its own kind.

Virtual Circuit: Virtual circuit is a path for the flow of data packets over a network, which does not exist in reality. It is ‘virtual’ in the sense that there is no dedicated physical layer link between the source and the destination of the data.

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