Silk Road, the illegal drug and services website that was operating on the Tor network, was taken off-line last week. This was shortly after the sites founder was arrested and questioned by the FBI.
Now we see the story developing as four more men have been arrested in the UK for their role in the online marketplace. Three men in their early 20’s from Manchester, plus a man in his 50’s from Devon have been detained on suspected drug offences. Further arrests are expected later in the week.
Given that The Silk Road was one of the world’s largest (if not the largest) websites for the sale of illegal drugs and related products and services, this marks a big step for the UK’s newly setup National Crime Agency (NCA), effectively the UK equivalent of the FBI.
Of course it is only the first step in fighting online money laundering, drug trafficking and more as there have been numerous other sites fighting to fill the void that the site closer left. Customers are simply going elsewhere and the arrest will have little effect on the customers and distributors related to the site, even with a few arrests.
Keith Bristow, the NCA’s director general said “These arrests send a clear message to criminals; the hidden internet isn’t hidden and your anonymous activity isn’t anonymous. We know where you are, what you are doing and we will catch you.”
With site owner Ross Ulbricht arrested and a few other people now taken in for questioning, it is becoming clear that the so-called anonymous service that is the Tor network, isn’t so anonymous any more.
Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.