Drugs on the Dark Net
How Cryptomarkets are Transforming the Global Trade in Illicit Drugs
I am old enough to realise that we have entered a science fiction world in which the old systems of the market place are being sidestepped by new technology. We who follow the tried and true methods are missing out of the brave new world. The changes are particularly true for the middle men whose services are no longer needed as the web allows customers to deal directly with producers. This also applies to the participants in organised crime. James Martin‘s terrific new book Drugs on the Dark Net: How Cryptomarkets are Transforming the Global Trade in Illicit Drugs (Palgrave, 2014) spells out how this is occurring in the drug trade as the Tor Network allows drug users to purchase their products from anywhere in the world. No longer are they tied to a street dealer or a friend for supply. No longer do they lack choice in quality or variety. Now they can peruse a range of products from the safety of their home. They have choice that would never be available without the internet. More importantly, as Martin points out, they are now valued customers with contracts, refund policies and providers of feedback on service quality. These websites provide all types of illicit goods but, surprisingly, many have ethical frameworks that limit their product ranges to restrict the sale of unacceptable goods and services such as child pornography or, in comes cases, firearms. This book is a mind expanding (pun intended) exploration of a high tech illicit market place that is essential reading for police, academics and the public at large.