Crypto a 'Major Deanonymization Vector' On Dark Web, Says Researcher

Crypto a ‘Major Deanonymization Vector’ On Dark Web, Says Anonymity Researcher

A common misconception is that cryptocurrencies + the Dark Web = free license to commit untraceable crimes. Contrary to mainstream opinion, however, crypto is a “major deanonymization vector” on the Dark Web. That’s per anonymity and privacy researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis, who says there’s much more than meets the eye when it comes to popular conceptions of the Dark Web.

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Not So Fast …

The Dark Web, commonly described as the modern day Wild West, is much less inscrutable than is popularly conceived.

So says Open Privacy Executive Director Sarah Jamie Lewis, who’s dedicated her career to “researching & building privacy enhancing tools that empower people & marginalized communities.”

As such, Lewis is more acquainted with the Dark Web than most. I came across her work on Twitter after seeing her critically eviscerate an apparently sensationalist crypto + Dark Web-related article, in which it’s asserted that “Human Flesh Goulash” recipes and even more sordid services could be purchased via crypto therein.

Having routinely combed through the Dark Web herself due to her line of work, Lewis dismissed the article’s more sensationalist claims as hogwash:

The privacy researcher went on to tweet that journalists reporting on the Dark Web should contact her first before publishing such misinformed material:

Accordingly, I reached out to Lewis with a few questions, and she was kind enough to oblige.

Thinking About Crime on the Dark Web

In my three questions to Lewis, I went for queries that might better illuminate what the aforementioned Glamour article got wrong:

Firstly, Lewis highlighted the problem with quantifying crime on the Dark Web, i.e. determining how much there really is.

In the piece she linked to, the researcher asserted that crime on the Dark Web had been overestimated according to a recent Deep Light report.

Secondly, Lewis noted cryptocurrencies were not an avenue to maintain privacy on the Dark Web, but rather a “major deanonymization vector.”

Lastly, the anonymity researcher expained that the Dark Web was over-hyped and overly reliant on “centralized ‘anonymous hosting’ sites”:

Needless to say, Lewis raises points that the cryptoverse’s more privacy-centric denizens should closely consider. Pseudoanonymity is not anonymity — that bears repeating over and over again.

What’s your take on the Dark Web? Let us know in the comments below. 

Images via Sarah Jamie Lewis, Medium

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