Episode 57: The Silk Road

This episode is brought to you by El Yucateco

On this episode, the Sofa Kings discuss the controversial Silk Road Marketplace and the Deep Net (or Dark Net) in which it resided. The Dark Net is a portion of the Internet that cannot be accessed by your average browser and instead needs a program such as TOR. TOR (which stands for The Onion Router) was invented by the Naval Research Yard as a 3rd generation onion routing project to use for highly encrypted, massively re-routed communications for intelligence operatives. Once it was given to civilians, then cryptopunks and privacy advocates took it, as did criminal enterprises such as the Silk Road.

The Silk Road had over 10,000 products for sale, 70% of which were illegal drugs. Customers could famously buy weapons, credit card accounts, pirated software, even paid murder and rapes. Started by an online entity known as “Dread Pirate Roberts” (commonly thought to be the man Ross William Ulbricht), the Silk Road was the most visible of all such Dark Net marketplaces and was shut down in 2013, though Ulbricth’s trial only ended in late 2015. What did various crimes cost on The Silk Road? How did Iranian media activist Nima Fatemi use TOR to help usher in the Arab Spring? Do your hosts agree or disagree with the use of the Dark Net (and yes, an argument ensues!)? Listen in and find out! Special thanks to guest Brian Ross for the topic idea and humor.

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