The Dutch authorities have come up with a new method of fighting the increased criminal activity on the internet. The police are now working with volunteers to deal with these offenses.
The crackdown is mainly targeting the dark web, whose popularity as a crime hub has increased over the past few years.
Some of the volunteers taking part in the new initiative to tackle dark web crimes are 14 individuals with expertise in information technology. These experts will help track down illegal dark web activity and help the police catch the perpetrators.
In addition to the 14 experts, 200 police volunteers will take part in the fight against dark web crimes. These officers have experience in ICT.
The police volunteers also include an oncologist and a retired physicist.
The Dutch police have never put the officers’ ICT skills to use. However, their expertise was among the factors that qualified them for their jobs.
One of the volunteering officers reported that he had trained others in computer-related subjects. He also claimed to have shared his knowledge of cryptocurrencies with others. The officer expressed his excitement to get to put his skills to work.
The volunteers will study dark web crimes and present the information they find to the authorities. For instance, one of the IT-expert volunteers will help the police in tracing weapons-related offenses.
Prior Efforts to Combat Darknet Crime
Over the past years, Europol has shown a lot of interest in illicit trade taking place on the dark web. The agency has helped the Dutch authorities through its international support against dark web crime.
For instance, Europol helped the Netherlands in the investigation of Hansa, a dark web marketplace. There were around 3,600 drug dealers operating on the platform.
The Dutch law enforcement managed to track down the individuals behind the site. They not only stopped their operations but also took over their accounts in 2017.
Furthermore, the U.S. FBI and DEA have been of great help to the country in dealing with darknet crimes. In 2017, the two agencies worked with Europe and the Dutch police to take down AlphaBay.
Like Hansa, AlphaBay was notorious for hosting the trade of contraband. Criminals using the site sold such items as firearms, stolen personal information, drugs, counterfeit goods as well as hacking tools. The website had been running for two years.
Before the involvement of volunteers, the Dutch police had found a way to catch dark web criminals through their transactions.
The Dutch authorities look for personal identities that users include when opening their cryptocurrency accounts. They find these details from social media, public registers, online articles as well as crime databases.
Furthermore, the police have noted that some cryptocurrency exchanges are regulated. They require their users to provide their identification details before registering them.
Nevertheless, the authorities in the Netherlands still need expert assistance to deal with the crimes on the dark web. Darknet users are continuously devising new ways to hide from the police.
With a group of tech experts that can purportedly access virtually anything from the internet, the operation’s productivity is expected to be boosted.
Theo van der Plas, the cybercrime program director for the Dutch police, stated that the law enforcement agency still needs more IT experts to join them.
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