“There will be bacon”

Is this the first verified example of a Red Room?

Is this the first verified example of a Red Room?

It started, as these things are wont to do, on 4Chan or Reddit. A couple of days ago; anonymous people posting anonymously “WHOA! Is this Real??” They gave no explanation, just an onion (i.e. dark web) link. The curious, of course, clicked. And they were greeted with a message:

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It went on to say the site owners had captured seven ISIS terrorists whom they would humiliate (“there will be bacon”), torture and ultimately murder live on webcam at the allotted time and date.

Here, it seemed, the ultimate urban myth, was going to become a reality: The Red Room. The modern version of the snuff movie, a Red Room is a live stream of the torture and murder of a person for the entertainment of others. Sometimes viewers may interact, typing instructions on a screen Think of the movie Hostel and add webcams.

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What do me and Charles Bukowski have in common?

Chuck B

Okay, that may be a little hyperbolic, but for the answer you are going to have to check out my guest blog for the Melbourne Writers Festival.

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Fun fact: the proper technical term for dark web sites is hidden services. It’s easy to forget what this implies, but as I’ve been researching the past couple of months for a new book, I’ve been reminded of how the dark web is designed to work.

There's sites on the Dark Web you - and I - will never see

There’s sites on the Dark Web you – and I – will never see

When people ask what’s on the dark web, those who reply will tell them all about the sites that they found once they downloaded Tor and “went exploring” or “browsing” (usually from finding The Hidden Wiki and clicking on some links). Check out the 11,000 comments on this thread on Reddit to see what I mean. (And for something fabulously weird, somebody for some reason decided to narrate a comment I made)

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Once it was thought only crazy people wearing tinfoil hats believed their movements were being tracked all the time. Now it is only crazy people who don’t.

According to the media, “a new kind of party craze has many Australians scrambling for invitations“. Crypto parties aren’t actually that new, but they are certainly getting more popular.

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I will be joining a bunch of “friendly cypherpunks” this Saturday in Adelaide where ordinary people interested in protecting their privacy can learn the basic tools that will make their computer more secure. It’s a community service, it’s free and it will probably be quite fun if you are into that sort of thing :)

Hope to see you there x (Details are in the link in the previous paragraph)

Yesterday I posted Silk Road moderator Peter Nash’s story. It gained a lot of attention from supporters and haters alike. It also got noticed by someone else. And I’m no longer sure which category they belong in.

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I was surprised to receive not only a comment on the blog, but also a personal email from the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY. It seems they had taken umbrage at the line:

It must have been disappointing for the prosecution who asked for an extra 10-12 years to add to the 18 months he’s already spent inside.

It may have been my unnecessarily bitchy reporting of those numbers that got up the Chief Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, SDNY’s nose so much that they took the time to write personally. I was quite wrong, they assured me:

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18 months after being arrested in Brisbane, Australian man Peter Philip Nash has been sentenced to time served by a United States judge. That means he is a free man.

Peter Nash.

Peter Nash, Silk Road’s SSBD

It must have been disappointing for the prosecution who asked for an extra 10-12 years to add to the 18 months he’s already spent inside.[EDIT: See correction here] In that time he has been placed in protective custody, bashed by prison guards, extradited to the other side of the world, and separated from his family and friends.

His crime? He moderated an internet discussion forum. Now, for the first time, he tells his story Read the rest of this entry »

Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted earlier this year of being Dread Pirate Roberts, owner of online drugs bazaar Silk Road, is due to be sentenced next Friday.

Australians were over-represented as customers of Silk Road (third largest user base by identified country according to FBI documents) and now it seems we will be over-represented at Ross Ulbricht’s sentencing hearing too. On both sides of the courtroom.

Image: news.com.au

Image: news.com.au

The prosecution is seeking to admit testimony of six families of Silk Road customers who died from drug overdoses or other complications whilst using drugs alleged to have come from Silk Road. Three of those victims – Preston Bridge, Jacob Lyon-Green and Scott Wilsdon – are Australians.

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