Random Darknet Shopper is a shopping bot that has been introduced lately in London.
It is automated and is provided with a budget of up to around £66 which is about $100 worth of Bitcoins once a week.
It is supposed to use this money to buy random items from the Deep Web, hidden parts of the web that are not available through conventional search engines that are put into daily use by everyone.
The users of the Dark Web sites cannot be traced yet they can make business transactions.
Dark Web markets offer both legal and illicit items including guns, fake identity cards, and drugs.
Its Creation and How it Works
Random Darknet Shopper is a creation of two artists from Switzerland.
Carmen Weisskopf aged 39 and Domagoj Smoljo aged 36 have been working together under !Mediengruppe Bitnik.
They are displaying goods that have been procured by this creation in an exhibition. The duo claims that this exhibition will help them explore the Dark Web landscape.The bot is entirely automated meaning that it is not human controlled.
This explains why it can exist in a wide legal grey area.
The bot works by scanning items on a Dark Web market and selecting one item whose cost is less than $100 and proceeding to make a purchase.
After the purchase is completed, it sends the seller the gallery’s address for shipping.
When the item is received at the gallery, the curator unpacks it and displays it. Until the item reaches the gallery, no human is involved.
Based on the how this bot is designed to work, it is possible that it will only select and buy only legal items from Dark Web site.
It has always been a question of how the law enforcement officers are expected to act in a case where the bot purchased illegal goods such as drugs and guns.
The Darknet Shopper Bot was able to buy legal items 11 out of the 12 times it made purchases but ended up purchasing ecstasy pills worth $48 in the 12th purchase.
The police seized the entire exhibition but opted not to file charges against Weisskopf and Smoljo. There was no clear way of pressing charges against them.
The officers were also not willing to prosecute the bot and decided that there was a possibility of looking at such things within an exhibition.
Other items purchased by Random Darknet Shopper include a fake Lacoste polo shirt that was accompanied by a receipt and an envelope that indicated that it was sent by a vendor in Thailand whose name is Mr. Asia.
The receipt indicates that the shirt was bought for just $34 (£22) worth of Bitcoins.
The bot has also successfully purchased a Bitcoin miner, a piece of computer hardware whose work is to search the web for Bitcoin currency.
The miner was purchased for $25 (£16).
The bot has further bought a box of firecrackers at a cost of $7 (£5).
This box was bought, as the receipt indicates, from a vendor named Pyroman79.
The box contains 20 triangle crackers listed under the weapons.
They are relatively cheap and can produce a loud bang as indicated by the vendor in the item description.
The introduction this technology in London has, however, raised a lot of burning questions.
There is a lot of anticipation building up on what will happen if it ends up purchasing a totally illegal item from the Dark Web.
In relating these questions to other issues, the owners were quoted wondering who should be held responsible if a self-driving car crashed and injured a person.
Would it be the person taking a ride who had no control of the car or the company that manufactured it? These are an interesting question that the founders say are interesting to think about.
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