In recent years, there has been a significant increase in activities in dark net markets.
Unfortunately, the majority of these activities tend to be illegal in nature.
This has led to a number of international governments actively attempting to tackle increasing crime on the dark web.
Austria seems to be stepping up its efforts in this regards admitting in highly controversial ways.
Politicians in Austria have forwarded a new proposition to develop a federal Trojan horse that will enable Austrian law enforcement agencies to spy on dark web platforms.
According to reports, Wolfgang Sobotka, Austrian Interior Minister, seeks to implement the federal Trojan in efforts to monitor the dark web.
Through this misguided move, the Austrian government hopes to effectively take on the increasing cases of criminal activities on dark web platforms.
The widely criticized plan of action has been termed momentous and could possibly pave the way for more underhanded state surveillance tactics by other countries.
There are indeed cases of the organization employing plan in efforts to gain an edge in the dark web.
However, the use of a federal Trojan horse will definitely come off as radical to many people.
It is important to note that this is not the first time that the Austrian government is planning on implementing impact measures in order to justify fighting crime on the dark web.
Wolfgang Sobotka had proposed a similar strategy earlier this year that would enable law enforcement agencies to spy on Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp communication channels.
This is yet to be realized with the direction it is taking, but it is anyone’s guess what could happen in the future as this war against cybercrime continues.
This course of action is similar to Austria’s state security law proposed in 2015.
A year ago, it was announced that Austria was planning on establishing a new secret agency.
The announcement came not long after the 2013 National Security Agency (NSA) was disturbed by Edward Snowden, which was possibly the biggest mass surveillance scandal in modern history.
The proposed state security law would grant surveillance powers to the agency while at the same time negatively impacting transparency and oversight.
The law was proposed following the rising threat of terrorism in large parts of Europe.
As expected, this draft was heavily criticized by a number of parties, including Amnesty International, religious organizations, judicial officials and some Austrian unions.
A petition against the act followed shortly.
If the events surrounding the 2015 proposal are anything to go by, the deployment of a federal Trojan horse is a lot like it and widespread rebuttal is to be expected.
What’s worse is that in this case, the tactics suggested are the same one used by the said dark web criminals that the Austrian government is trying to address.
Although it can be argued that it is a means to an end, if the proposal is executed it will significantly affect the reputation of the Austrian government.
Austrian Interior Minister already pointed to the possibility of the bministry lacking the technical necessities to effectively keep up with cyber criminals operating on Darknet platforms.
It remains unclear if this federal Trojan horse would be instrumental in that sense.
In fact, some privacy advocates are pointing out that such software could be claimed by cybercriminals leading to the situation becoming much worse.
With the varying experience in the execution of cyber-attacks in recent times, this is not an unlikely scenario.
Online privacy is made possible through encryption.
The proposed federal Trojan horse will be capable of going around encryption.
This will not only affect the protected privacy of everyday internet users but could have unforeseen consequences if it were to be mishandled or misused.
As it currently stands, using such means to justify fighting crime will always be unacceptable by the masses.
If the Austrian government continues to push in this direction, it could turn out to be counterproductive in the long run.
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