For years, the quasi hidden website Silk Road has grabbed headlines for it’s facilitation of ”anonymous” drug transactions. The website used a technology called TOR to keep users identities semi private, and bitcoins for payment. According to the TOR Project’s website, the software:
is a program you can run on your computer that helps keep you safe on the Internet. Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. This set of volunteer relays is called the Tor network.
In layman’s terms, this technology was a giant shell game with IP addresses. Well, today, the FBI came down hard on the Silk Road, shutting it down and arresting it’s 29 year old founder on a slew of charges ranging from drug trafficking to computer hacking. According to the FBI, the website was responsible for facilitating 1.3 billion dollars in illicit trade. I think everyone would agree that this was simply a matter of time, particularly in the wake of an FBI investigation into child pornography on the site. Once the FBI uncovered that the site was being used to transfer child pornography, the Silk Road was destined to be barricaded. As the old adage goes: Once you have a hammer, all nails are your playthings. Read the whole story here.