The UNODC (the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime) published its annual report on Thursday where they have mentioned some new methods and technologies to cope with the drug trade on the dark net. The report says:
“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’.”
Since most of the users use Tor and encryption technologies to remain hidden while accessing dark net marketplaces and forums, law enforcement authorities have trouble to identify and locate their IP addresses.
The Europol, similarly to the newly released UN report, is already said in its 2014 report that “law enforcement should build technical capabilities in order to support technical investigations into subjects using Darknets, in accordance with relevant legislation.”
In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation uses specific methods to catch dark net users, such as hacking their computers or relying on the research of Department of Defense-funded institutions to obtain their IP addresses.
There are technological and resource-related problems when law enforcement authorities are dealing with dark net vendors and users, however, police often finds itself trapped within legal boundaries. The most common legal issues authorities are facing in these cases are which jurisdiction should they use, especially when the suspect’s location is unknown.
There are problems regarding national sovereignties too. When agencies are hacking a dark net user’s account, they do not really know which country the malware will land to. For this reason, the UNODC sees a major issue when sharing intelligence when it’s not clear where in the world that intelligence would be best used.
The FBI also pushes for a legislation that would require suspects to decrypt their devices when charged with a crime, however, hard drive encryption is certainly not exclusive to dark web users. The UNODC wants to see some change in this area too:
“The provision of technical assistance and capacity-building for the Member States to collect and exploit digital evidence is key to addressing the threat posed by drug trafficking via the Internet.”