Is Uber Eats dangerous
Das Netzwerk V .: Why isn't “Uber Eats for Drugs” blocked?
Drugs are child's play to obtain via the drug network V. on Telegram, as research of 20 minutes shows. But why isn't the platform simply paralyzed?
Buying drugs on social media or messenger services is easy.
But why is it so difficult for the police to block such sites?
And how dangerous are professional-looking online shops for consumers?
Getting into drugs on social media is easy, as 20 minutes of research shows. Be it via Instagram, Snapchat or Telegram. With just a few clicks on Telegram, for example, you can join the group called V., where 30 different drugs with purity and availability status are offered. From weed to mushrooms, LSD, cocaine and crystal meth. The network is likely to be one of the largest online drug distribution networks on social media in Switzerland. The organizer promises timely delivery by post or courier. Payment has to be made anonymously with Bitcoins, whereby the credit has to be topped up at an SBB machine, as stated in an instruction post.
But how does the network work, which now has over 2500 members and is mainly active in Zurich and St. Gallen? Interested experts in the field of cybercrime could not provide any information. Neither is a courier who delivers drugs to customers for the network. «Nobody knows who these people are», says supplier C. to 20 Minuten. You have never met these people personally. But it is obvious that “smart people” are behind it. “It's crazy how well everything is organized,” she says. You have the impression that the network has a better sales network than Zalando.
20 minutes it was possible to communicate with the "dove" via telegram. "Taubchen" claims to be the founder and boss of the network. She says: "We're the Uber Eats for drugs." In the beginning she worked as a freelance courier. Then she thought about what she had to do so that she no longer had to drive herself. «In the beginning it was one ‹One Woman Show›. After that, it grew through Telegram, ”she says.
The annual turnover is "in the millions". 50 couriers - mostly women - are hired. With the exception of sales, all those involved worked from abroad. Nobody knows each other personally, the only contact is via Telegram. You operate from the Darknet in order to remain hidden. It is also possible to operate from the Darknet via Whatsapp or Telegram. She takes every precaution not to be discovered.
Decryption «extremely time-consuming»
But why isn't the drug network simply paralyzed? "Investigations in the Darknet are difficult because a wide variety of specialists are required to put a stop to online drug trafficking," writes the St. Gallen cantonal police. "Deciphering a page like Telegram is extremely time-consuming," explains Judith Hödl from the Zurich City Police. Because whether this can be done at all is decided by the compulsory measures court. "Only if the responsible public prosecutor submits an application to this court and this is granted can the police use special IT programs for decryption." It is not known whether this is the case with Network V. Neither the Zurich Public Prosecutor nor the St. Gallen Public Prosecutor wanted to say whether proceedings against V. are pending.
Cyber crime in Switzerland
The Network Digital Investigation Support Internet Crime (NEDIK) has existed since 2018. The aim is for the specialist resources of the individual cantons to be bundled. "The difficulty of Internet crime is characterized by various characteristics: The Internet offers transnational opportunities for action," explains Tamara Schmid, NEDIK analyst. “That means, theoretically, a criminal act can be carried out from anywhere in the world. The anonymity of the perpetrator plays a central role, as there is a high degree of possibility of concealing one's own identity. In addition, the Internet is fast, complex and characterized by a high willingness to change. " The prosecution is therefore dependent on the willingness of the respective countries to provide data and information. The Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime has already closed a loophole and has massively improved the exchange of information in the field of digital crime. “Another difficulty relates to social media: Often a mobile phone number or an e-mail address is sufficient for registration. Finding the person behind it is extremely complex. "
Insta as a legal vacuum
But what about drug sales on Insta, Snapchat and Co.? "Every private computer that is used to surf the Internet has an IP address," explains Marcel Dobler, FDP National Councilor and Vice President of DigitalSwitzerland, the umbrella organization for the digital economy. "Assuming someone sells drugs on Instagram, law enforcement must first ask the Instagram company for their data, for example which IP address has accessed this profile."
In addition, most IP addresses change sporadically: "The providers, e.g. Swisscom, have a range of addresses that they assign when a new connection is made with a user." In other words, in a second step, the law enforcement authorities must clarify with the responsible provider who used a certain IP address and when. "It's still easy to find a private person, but when the Instagram page has been accessed from a business computer, it is difficult to find out who it was."
As of now, social media without a seat in Switzerland is practically an unlawful area, as it is difficult to find a drug seller due to the legal situation. "Law enforcement depends on the willingness of the big tech giants to provide data." The Federal Council is currently working on a draft law that is intended to resolve precisely this problem.
The network for digital investigative support for Internet crime explains as follows why the identification of dealers is so demanding: “The perpetrators often hide behind their social media profiles and mostly provide fake registration data. If, for example, the log data is published by Instagram, you can see that the perpetrators are concealing their IP addresses with a proxy server or a VPN connection. " Communication often takes place via anonymous messenger services in order to hide the origin. "Nevertheless, under these difficult conditions, the Swiss law enforcement authorities are able to identify and arrest perpetrators internationally."
Tracing even more difficult in the Darknet
It gets even more difficult when acting from the Darknet. Hernâni Marques from the Chaos Computer Club, an association of hackers and network policy experts, explains: “You can only get into the Darknet with special software that allows encrypted access to the Tor network, for example. Traceability is difficult and very expensive because the connection is routed through several countries. " Marques compares the network to a forest: “You can see who is going in, but not which way he is taking. Then there are exit points where it is visible that people are leaving. But because of the encryption, it is not clear who is leaving the forest. "
"The drug trade online is a bottomless pit"
And even if the site were to be blocked: “The drug trade online is a bottomless pit. First substances were sold on the usual internet, then on the darknet, and today also via social media. The drug market, like many other areas, is becoming more and more digital, ”says Frank Zobel, Vice Director of Addiction Switzerland. It is all the more important that young people are given the means to deal with such sites. This is how young people can be protected. "In the area of prevention, we want to empower young people so that they can make the right decisions themselves to protect their health."
Just recently, however, a courier who wanted to deliver cocaine for the drug network V. in Zurich was conditionally sentenced to 20 months in prison and expelled from the country for seven years, as the Tagesanzeiger reported. Her lawyer, Stefan Ioli, told 20 Minuten: "My client has credibly reported to me and in court that in this position you have no direct contact with anyone."
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