A distributed resilience among darknet markets?

A distributed resilience among darknet markets?

You may have seen the news earlier this year that two large darknet marketplaces, Alphabay and Hansa, have been taken down by international law enforcement. Particularly interesting about these takedowns is that they were deliberately structured to seed distrust among market participants: after Alphabay closed many traders migrated to Hansa, not aware that it had […]

Mapping Fentanyl Trades on the Darknet

My colleagues Joss Wright, Martin Dittus and I have been scraping the world’s largest darknet marketplaces over the last few months, as part of our darknet mapping project. The data we collected allow us to explore a wide range of trading activities, including the trade in the synthetic opioid Fentanyl, one of the drugs blamed for the […]

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Why we shouldn’t be pathologizing online gaming before the evidence is in

Internet-based video games are a ubiquitous form of recreation pursued by the majority of adults and young people. With sales eclipsing box office receipts, games are now an integral part of modern leisure. However, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recently identified Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) as a potential psychiatric condition and has called for research […]

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Censorship or rumour management? How Weibo constructs “truth” around crisis events

As social media become increasingly important as a source of news and information for citizens, there is a growing concern over the impacts of social media platforms on information quality — as evidenced by the furore over the impact of “fake news”. Driven in part by the apparently substantial impact of social media on the […]

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Does Internet voting offer a solution to declining electoral turnout?

e-voting had been discussed as one possible remedy for the continuing decline in turnout in Western democracies. In their Policy & Internet article “Could Internet Voting Halt Declining Electoral Turnout? New Evidence that e-Voting is Habit-forming”, Mihkel Solvak and Kristjan Vassil examine the degree to which e-voting is more habit forming than paper voting. Their […]

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From private profit to public liabilities: how platform capitalism’s business model works for children

Two concepts have recently emerged that invite us to rethink the relationship between children and digital technology: the “datafied child” (Lupton & Williamson, 2017) and children’s digital rights (Livingstone & Third, 2017). The concept of the datafied child highlights the amount of data that is being harvested about children during their daily lives, and the […]

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Introducing Martin Dittus, Data Scientist and Darknet Researcher

We’re sitting upstairs, hunched over a computer, and Martin is showing me the darknet. I guess I have as good an idea as most people what the darknet is, i.e. not much. We’re looking at the page of someone claiming to be in the UK who’s selling “locally produced” cannabis, and Martin is wondering if […]

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Exploring the Darknet in Five Easy Questions

Many people are probably aware of something called “the darknet” (also sometimes called the “dark web”) or might have a vague notion of what it might be. However, many probably don’t know much about the global flows of drugs, weapons, and other illicit items traded on darknet marketplaces like AlphaBay and Hansa, the two large […]

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