The United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published its annual report on Thursday and placed special emphasis on curbing the illicit trade on the Dark Web.
According to the Global Drug Survey report for 2016, drug users are increasingly turning to dark web marketplaces.
The UN’s report concedes: “Law enforcement and the criminal justice system in many countries are still not in a position to deal effectively with the anonymous online marketplace known as the ‘dark net’.”
The issues is further exacerbated as users, both buyers and sellers are typically obfuscating their locations by using the TOR network. Although not a completely anonymizing solution, it does prove to be an additional hindrance for many unprepared law enforcement agencies throughout the globe. Even when particular users seem to be given them a helping hand from time to time.
Europol, Europe’s law enforcement body made similar calls in a 2014 report when addressing the shortcoming in its capabilities of dealing with online drug dealing. They stated “law enforcement should build technical capabilities in order to support technical investigations into subjects using Darknets, in accordance with relevant legislation.”
The FBI have been more forthcoming in their use of no-nonsense tactics when dealing with the uncovering of anonymized users on the dark web.
Once a particular location has been identified a further headache on the part of the enforcement agencies relates to the national sovereignty of the device location. This opens up a diplomatic Pandora’s Box on what intelligence can be shared and by who, as well as the steps permitted within the extents of the law in relation to the geographic boundaries.
There is also the ongoing issue regarding disk encryption techniques once a target has been identified, although this area isn’t specific to the dark web the UNODC has stated that “The provision of technical assistance and capacity-building for Member States to collect and exploit digital evidence is key to addressing the threat posed by drug trafficking via the Internet,”