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Russian Government Sues Firm For Failing To Deanonymize Tor Users

The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Russia filed a suit against Rostec, a cyber defense company that was working with the Russian government, for the failure to reveal the details of Tor users in the requested time frame.
According to documents, the government and Rostec has a contract worth 3.9 million Rubles (around $60.000) for the company to “research the possibility of obtaining technical information on users of [the] anonymous network Tor and users’ equipment.”
Since Rostec did not hack into the Tor Project’s anonymous browser in order to reveal information about its users in time, the government is trying to end the contract with the tech firm. However, this is only the government’s viewpoint, since Vladimir Pleshakov, the lawyer who is representing Rostec in the case states that the Russian government just wants “to bring down the price of the contract or claim a penalty” and notes that despite this recent lawsuit, the contract with the government will continue, according to Pleshakov.
The Russian government in 2012 began to censure the websites President Vladimir Putin did not consider as appropriate, thus not giving approval to them. They did not think this new policy through for sure. According to the Washington Times, the number of Tor users in Russia grew from 20.000 to around 175.000 during that time. This statistic makes Russia the third most active country regarding the users of the Tor browser behind the USA and Germany. The metrics for this were provided by the Tor Project.
Recently, there has been some attacks or attempts for attacking the privacy of the Tor Project by governments in the world. About a week ago, there has been a $1 million affair between the Carnegie Melon University and the FBI for the deanonymizing Tor users in the past, which the two institutes deny, however, Tor Project states they have proof against the FBI and CMU in their attempt to uncover the hidden users of the anonymous browser.

Drugs Bought On The Dark Net Are Better In Quality

According to a study by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the drugs that are bought on the dark web could reduce harm for users since of the higher quality of the substances.The report also says that significantly less criminal activity is involved with online drug sales than with street deals. The monitoring centre examined the rise of dark net markets, their impact on society, along with gangland crime and law enforcement. According to them, ”winning a good review as an online vendor from customers can be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections” on the street.

The report also says that numerous drug wholesalers are using the dark net to sell their stuff to potential buyers, however, the online sale of substances does not provide an alternative for ”traditional criminal methods” in the case of large shipments. For example, heroin and cocaine trade require face-to-face meetings between gangs and cartels based on “trust and a ruthless system of sanctions”.

The institute based in Lisbon states that the growing popularity of the Tor browser had helped dark net markets to become much more popular among people.

What researchers found out was that the “quality may be superior” to drugs bought from street dealers and that they are ”less prone to contamination”. According to the study, out of 129, 120 samples of drugs bought online (93%), the “drug that customers thought they had purchased was the only psychoactive substance detected”. Cocaine samples were just about 70 percent purity compared to an average of 38 percent of street samples that were seized in the United Kingdom in 2013.

The report states this about the violence of dark net drug deals:

“The new type of drug dealer is also likely to be relatively free from the violence typically associated with traditional drug markets.” The researchers also mention the importance of “conflict reducing features” like escrow.

Also, reputation on the dark web and on the street differs:

“In the drug cryptomarket era, having good customer service and writing skills and a good reputation via feedback as a vendor or buyer may be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections,” the study says.

The monitoring centre researchers also made this statement:

“Numerous gangland killings occur in Europe as a result of drug transports that have gone wrong. Owing to these mores and the enormous financial interests that hinge on the success of each transaction, it is not likely that the primary negotiations will take place over the deep web.”

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