Posted by: Allen Hoffmann, JD
July 13, 2015
Even having the capacity to go about doxxing one’s clients is, as I discussed in my most recent article, a gross breach of the rules by which DNMs live – if the clients can’t trust that the vendor will delete their data, they’re going to be disinclined to use markets at all. It was a rule strongly established in the days of the original Silk Road that vendors should not keep personal data, and DPR banned vendors that were found to be keeping it. But the motivation to do it remains, and the main reason is the opportunity to use it as a coercive measure, and, to a lesser extent, as a potential “get out of jail free” card.
The traditional criminal world’s rules are different from that of mainstream society. I’m probably preaching to the choir with regard to some readers, whilst conversely, I’ve no doubt that there are plenty of DNM users for whom the most badass individual they’ve ever had to deal with face to face has a couple of tattoos and once spent time in county for fail to produce insurance and DUI. Why do people like the Hells Angels, when wearing their “cuts”, tend to not have wannabe tough guys start fights with them in bars? Do you often saunter up to perpetually pissed off looking bikers and tell them they’re “lookin’ a bit homo repressed”, and offer them a massage? No, of course you don’t (unless you like getting stomped), because they’ve got a reputation, and a well established one at that, for violent response and retribution when challenged. They may’ve chilled out in some jurisdictions in recent years, but the capacity for an outlaw biker to beat the shit out of you is something which is known, culturally, owing to the experience of others.
Whilst some people sell illicit goods to support their own use, or as a form of social protest, others are in it to make money, and yet others live it as a lifestyle, with dealing drugs and engaging in violence being regarded as normal an activity as it might be for you to get up and work your 9 to 5 office job. Criminals are not in a position to call the police if they get burgled or robbed, so its not uncommon for them to use violence to protect their enterprises. Beyond that, some perceive the need for retribution exponential to any trespass suffered as part of ensuring both one’s honor, and acting as both specific and general deterrence to both the party who trespassed, and against any other party contemplating a similar course of action; its why people can get shot over what seem, to a reasonable, objective observer, to be very petty disputes. It could be over a perceived issue of disrespect, maybe a graffiti tag which some adversary has gone over with their own. When you mix money into the equation, people who started out violent over issues of their reputation alone, or perhaps just their demeanour, can become animals. Combine the potential of a violent guy or girl, who deals drugs, with potentially using them, or dealing with inveterate drug addicts, who are perceived as dishonest, and things can get downright explosive.
From the client side of transactions on DNMs, it’s a positive that has not escaped notice; the Global Drugs Survey, as unrepresentative a study as I may believe it to be, tags a significant gap between those concerned about their personal safety when dealing on DNMs versus acquisitions via other sources.
There are people out there, regardless of what LE and other proponents of the DNM ethos may say, who would not have become drug dealers had they not had access to the anonymity and relative safety of DNMs. The DNMs have managed to put a glossy veneer on the roles played by those who are DNM users on the sales side; ‘drug dealers’ are now referred to as ‘vendors’, which illicits a less visceral response from some people, and perhaps divorces what we think of the violence, criminality and dishonesty which can go with street level dealing. Its an exercise in rebranding to make what you’re doing a little less palatable, be it from your own point of view, or for those looking in from outside. But that being said, there are plenty of street level and higher drug dealers who have embraced the new technology of DNM selling, but bring their old approach to doing business with them. The disincentives and methods of maintaining order in the traditional criminal milieu are a little harder to utilize against people on the other end of an anonymizing TOR connection, whose faces are never seen by the seller; all the seller has to go on is a shipping address, and a username (which some amateur users may use both in their DNM lives and their clearnet lives), and so it really isn’t surprising that DNM vendors, especially those with a more traditional criminal pedigree, are prepared to leverage the threat of doxxing, or perhaps sending out something intended to trigger an investigation, against people who mess with their business.
Here’s another reason why keeping a client list may benefit a vendor; as has been explored on Reddit and elsewhere, the account of XanaxKing, a major manufacturer and wholesaler of Xanax mimic tablets in the US, was flipped by LE. Departing from the ‘end user’, ‘we aren’t wasting out time on small time personal use buyers’ situation which occurs in some instances, compared with instances where the order was wholesale sized, controlled deliveries occurred. Imagine worst case scenario occurs, and LE manages to catch a large scale vendor red handed – that vendor may well be able to negotiate a substantial sentencing discount via an attorney in return for a client list which is likely to yield arrests for people re-selling the wholesale vendor’s wares. This is worst case scenario and is the end of the line for a vendor; doxxing, on the other hand, can be done quietly and on an ongoing basis.
Can you ever really know for sure that DNM seller is telling the truth when they say they’ve deleted your data? The answer is, no, you can’t. There’s no DNM regulatory agency which checks that they’re complying with the rules, and the ability to exact penalties on a seller who breaches the rules just isn’t there. As to sellers who may go even further, and seek to blackmail a buyer, send heavies to a buyers’ house or use their data as a get out of jail free card, there are no guarantees; buyers need to conduct their own risk and exposure assessment, especially, a fact which many, up til now, may not even have considered necessary. You’ll never be absolutely sure if the guy you’re dealing with is the benign MDMA seller who wants to make sure his weekends out don’t cost him too much, versus a guy with a collection of fully automatic weapons stolen from the military with obliterated serial numbers. Never forget that the DNM seller you’re doing business with is, regardless of how you want to paint them, as far as the law is concerned, a criminal.