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Richard Frank, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University who served on the Council of Canadian Academies’ panel for its report “Vulnerable Connections,” highlighted the report’s findings that technological advancements are outpacing society’s ability to address their harms.
The Official Statement
Frank stated that cryptomarkets, which frequently appear and disappear, offer an alternative means of purchasing drugs, with an 80% increase in drug revenues from 2013 to 2021. The anonymous nature, lower prices, and varied selection make it an appealing option for drug trade.
From June 2021 to January 2022, eight cryptomarkets traded around 16.8 tons of drugs, earning approximately $234.7 million. Criminologist Richard Frank from SFU suggests that shipping is an area that authorities may target as technology advances. He proposes using more sophisticated sorting machines to identify drug packages and reduce the risk of shipping. However, the research cannot track shipments by province.
The expert Shu Liu has highlighted the difficulty in curbing the drug trade in the cryptomarket, as vendors are using invite-only chat rooms. One suggested solution to this issue is to develop and test new interception tools. Despite encryption, Frank’s team was able to estimate the volume of drugs sold on the dark web by cross-referencing mandatory reviews with product ads.Frank likened the distribution system to a game of cat and mouse, stating that law enforcement must evolve their skills to deal with online drug dealing. The dark web was described as being similar to Amazon, where people can anonymously purchase products using a Firefox-based browser.