Drugs sold on darknet is growing threat: EU report
29 Nov 2017, 01:02 ( 16 days ago)
Drugs bought and sold over the darknet are an increasing security and health threat, according to a European Union report released in Lisbon on Tuesday.
The report, entitled "Drugs and the darknet: perspectives for enforcement, research and policy", is the first major study of dark web drug sales in Europe.
Supply, demand and revenues are all on the rise, it concluded, with the European market estimated to be worth 80 to 90 million euros.
The study was conducted jointly by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol).
"The traditional image of drug pushers running their illicit operations from the darkest corners of every town and city in Europe is quickly changing," Rob Wainwright, head of Europol, told a press conference in Lisbon.
He said this was "being replaced by a much more hidden, much less visible online version of illicit trading of drugs."
Alexis Goosdeel, director of the EMCDDA, which is headquartered in Lisbon, echoed Wainwright's comments. "The darknet is the bottom of the iceberg, the most hidden part of the hidden web," he said.
The darknet is a layer of the internet that can only be accessed with special software or authorization codes.
The hidden nature of the darknet makes it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to access, monitor and police.
This is attractive to users, who are also drawn to increased anonymity and a perception that the produce is of a higher quality than that found on the street.
Europe accounts for 46 percent of global dark web drug revenues, according to the report. Germany, the Netherlands and Britain are Europe's three major markets.