Justice Minister Thomas Kutschaty from the Social Democratic Party (SPD) said on Wednesday that Germany needs stricter laws for illegal dark web activity. In the government’s fight against weapon and drug sales on the dark net they need “laws that make every attempt to trade prohibited goods on the internet punishable”, he said in North Rhine-Westphalia on November 16.
According to Kutschaty, the new laws will help investigators catch criminals on the dark web more easily. He also added that cybercriminals are harder to trace than “normal criminals”. Kutschaty mentioned Crime as a Service (CaaS) as an example for the new law, hackers who offer these kinds of services will be caught and punished more efficiently.
“The dark net is the online store for criminals “, Kutschaty said. “[Almost] 57 percent of the products sold there is for illegal purposes.” The justice minister wants to close down dark web markets “before even a single weapon gets sold.”
Germany’s intensive war against the dark web started when law enforcement authorities discovered that the Münich shooter, David Ali Sonboly, bought a gun from a dark net vendor. He killed nine people and himself. The gunman purchased a 9mm Glock 17 from a 31-year-old dark web vendor. The seller was arrested by police after the shooting happened. Allegedly, the vendor also sold two similar weapons to a 62-year-old accountant and to a 17-year-old student.
“There is the strong suspicion that the 31-year-old man sold the Glock 17 used in the Munich shooting to the 18-year-old German-Iranian shortly before the attacks,” Bavarian state police said in a statement.
“Even the Munich shooter acquired his weapon from the dark net. The weapon was a defused prop gun, which had been converted into a lethal firearm. With the pistol, he shot nine people and himself,” Kutschaty said.
“Data does not stop at the borders but flows into a cloud network somewhere in the world. In order to secure evidence, police and prosecutors around the world should work together more effectively than now,” the justice minister added.
According to the Frankfurt Prosecutors Office, the 31-year-old who sold the gun to the Münich shooter confessed his crimes and is currently working with law enforcement authorities. The investigation against the weapon vendor was carried out by a 65 person task force. They received 31,000 tips from civilians and interviewed 250 witnesses. The Frankfurt Prosecutors Office said in a statement that the 31-year-old is working with police to arrest other vendors on the dark web. German authorities have already opened an investigation into the vendor’s business partners. On the other hand, the General Prosecutor claimed the seller may not have been working alone.
German officials announced in October that the 31-year-old vendor led investigators to a weapons cache in the woods. It was buried underground where police found a submachine gun, four semi-automatic pistols, and unquantified ammunition.