Two Sides Of the Coin.
Technology is limitless. It knows no boundaries, becoming better and better with every passing day. It also enlarges our boundaries: because of it, we can do things today that no one would’ve thought possible a few decades ago, such as having millions of books available at our fingertips and the ability to cheaply and instantaneously talk with anyone anywhere in the world.
But that had its price. The ability to do a lot of good also comes with the ability to do a lot of evil. While modern technology gives the police and some vigilante groups the power to discover and do a lot in a small amount of time, it also gives criminal organizations unprecedented power to expand their reach and strengthen their grasp over their sphere of influence. Let’s talk a bit about how they do that:
While cryptocurrency’s decentralization and anonymity could lead us to greater levels of economic freedom, those same features also make it the perfect currency for criminal activities.
Cash, credit and bank transactions are very traceable. They were designed to be this way, both by banks and governments, in order to track criminal activity and enforce tax payment. Notes have serial numbers and credit cards and bank transactions are linked to the users’ identities. Records are stored for years, and can be retrieved with a warrant. Accountability is key.
With decentralized cryptographic currencies, however, things are different: transactions happen between public keys instead of individuals. Creating new wallets is quick and easy, and they aren’t necessarily linked to your identity. The ledger may be public, but that doesn’t make things a single bit easier if you know what you’re doing. And crime syndicates sure do.
Deep Web Activity
The existence of the deep web also gives those organizations a new layer of safety and money making. Remember Silk Road? It was the biggest marketplace inside the deep web. Too big, even, considering it became public knowledge during the deep web craze some years ago. It was the place to go to buy illegal drugs and fake documents, along with other legal stuff, anywhere in the world. All of this has been powered by Bitcoin since the website’s inception (in 2011).
While both Silk Road and its successor, Silk Road 2.0, have been shut down, there are other illegal marketplaces hidden throughout the world, some much less restrictive than those two were (Silk Road didn’t allow selling child pornography and weapons through it, for example). Illegal gambling sites are also spread out throughout it, giving a greater degree of adrenaline to its users (as they are illegal and riskier) and also more earnings to its owners (deep web websites are infamous for suddenly disappearing, taking the money they were holding onto with them).
And now, with the Bitcoin price soaring, this has become more lucrative than ever before.
Crime syndicates also managed to weaponize anonymity in order to do their bidding more safely and more effectively.
One of the ways they do so is by running their organization almost anonymously. While the people that are part of the inner circle probably know each other in some way, the relationship to their “employees” can now be completely anonymous, but in a one-sided way: they know who they all are, but the employed do not know their employers. They are just expected to follow their instructions, or face the consequences.
Another way they take advantage of anonymity is for human trafficking and grooming new hirelings. They are able to find people on the internet that fit the profile they are looking for, and lure them into their traps using direct advertising, such as by posting fake job ads in legitimate websites or directly talking to them and promising a job in another country, such as by using a fake social media profile. All of this without revealing themselves and their true intentions until it is already too late for the victim.
Technology is incredible, but in the wrong hands it can also be very scary. While criminal organizations adapted very well and very quickly to these new possibilities, the police worldwide are still scrambling to keep up, so things are going to stay bleak like this for a while. But with the development of new advanced security systems, we are hoping for a brighter future. Being basically a professional conspiracy theorist, he has already delved into many different subjects along his journey, laying them out in his own website, InfoWars, or through live rants and podcasts of something. Below is a selection of some interesting conspiracy theories of his which involve technological advances which are, well, a bit beyond those which we are used to. You May Also Know: Fungi-based Computers