In this essay, I will discuss the principles of socialjustice and what it represents while linking the dark web and digitalcurrencies. I will also critically analyse the relationship between law andjustice.
As law has the capacity to act upon social justice, law is a valuabletool as justice is too. Law is a dual function, which can provide a barrier oreven hinder justice. As social justice is concerned with basic institutionswhich are in society. John Rawls articulates the principles which: “provide away of assigning rights and duties in the basic institutions of society andthey define the appropriate distribution of the benefits and burdens of socialco-operation”.1Justice is acknowledged as a contested concept due to thenumerous ways it can be apprehended.
There is extensive agreement that justiceis a ‘good thing’, but disagreement about how to understand justice. Essentiallycontested concepts are known to ‘inevitably involve endless disputes abouttheir proper uses on the part of their users’.2 Todefine justice is substantially difficult due to the amount of ways it can beapplied, as it is a term we could legitimately claim has a number of meanings.
However, when mentioning injustice, it is not the same, essentially unanimousagreement injustice isn’t better than justice. Nonetheless, my personal view onjustice derives from the not so clear Aristotle theory. Which states that; ‘This,then, is what the just is-the proportional; the unjust is what violates theproportion … for the man who acts unjustly has too much, and the man who isunjustly treated too little, of what is good’.3 AsI believe that the core purpose of justice is to make certain that no one is breakingthe law, in addition to no one acts as they are above the law and control allorders. Furthermore, justice in my judgement is about what’s right and the lawis there as more of a guideline of rules which must be followed as activity inthe dark web certainly suggest otherwise. “In this sense Justice denotes a”moral disposition which renders men apt to do just things and whichcauses them to act justly.”4Moreover, justice is certainly an umbrella term, as it is anoverarching theme.
Justice has three domains of how justice can beapprehended. Corrrective justice relatesto the dark web as corrective justice intervenes with criminal justice. “Correctivejustice is the idea that liability rectifies the injustice inflicted by oneperson on another”.
5Derives generally on punishing injustice as correcting a wrong, as justiceserves to right a wrong. There is an analogy with the law, as the law has arole in punishing injustice. In relation to the dark web, corrective justiceintervenes as activity on the dark web is primarily crime.
Besides, correctivejustice forbids unlawful actions to be not deemed with justice. Moreover, distributivejustice is another domain of justice. This is the idea common goods are finiteas it asks; how should we distribute wealth, health, education etc. How we mightdistribute these goods is where justice comes in. Justice is there to determinewhat a fair and jus distribution of these goods are. Lastly, transactionaljustice relates to what a just exchange would be in society.
Justice is thereto determine what’s a free and fair exchange in society. Corrective justiceimplies that activity on the dark web is injustice, as well as drugtrafficking, narcotics and accessing child pornography surely is injustice meaningsomething should be done about this. The dark web may well be considered inherently illegal due tothe substantial amounts of crime e.g. the selling of narcotics and firearms andaccess of child pornography. It is not possible to access the dark web throughmainstream software but only through a special software. As the dark web hasbeen regarded as a place where is seen law doesn’t seem to apply, everythinggoes no rules to follow. This can be regarded as power and freedom as users ofthe dark web have absolute no boundaries.
One report had said: “The “dark web”is also often referred to as the “deep web,” but journalists and technologistswho discuss the dark web take pains to distinguish the two. The “deep web” isdefined as all the material online that commercial search engines such asGoogle and Bing cannot access.”6 7Thedark web also gives users anonymity allowing them to be untraceable whichclearly is a space where laws and social mores are largely meaningless. ”Criminalgroups have wasted no time in embracing today’s globalised economy and thesophisticated technology that goes with it. But our efforts to combat them haveremained up to now very fragmented and our weapons almost obsolete.” 8This statement by law enforcements implies how problematic apprehendingcriminals on the dark web really is, as the size of the web is unknown as tohow big it is.
Crime on the dark web is extremely hard to detect, and evenharder to investigate, yet we still do regardless of it being resourceintensive. Why? To do justice of course, as it would certainly be injustice tonot deal with the crime being accomplished. It is undoubtedly clear that theuse of the dark web is primarily for unlawful purposes. Justice is there toconvict and punish the guilty while protecting the innocent. 9 Nevertheless, despite the dark web being resource intensive,and the number of instances are low the criminal activity which goes on shouldnot be ignored. The dark web allows enormous amounts of illegal activity to beproficient, it is inherently illegal due to the substantial amounts of crimee.g. the selling of narcotics and firearms and access to child pornography.
Itwas reported that: “Researchers at King’s College London found that 57 per centof the sites designed for Tor – known as onion sites – facilitate criminalactivity, including drugs, illicit finance, and extreme pornography”. 10Moreover, due to the anonymity of the dark web it is difficult to establishwhat other crimes are being committed. However, justice very much needs to becondoned, although resources are limited this does not advocate the fact thedark web is inherently unlawful. The social good which derives from the darkweb is chiefly the anonymity and autonomy it provides, criminals are seeking tohide their ‘true’ identity which the dark web conveniently allows.
Additionally, the anonymity and autonomy which the dark webprovides, suggests criminals can keep breaking the law actively with illegalactivity acknowledging that whatever they are doing is untraceable. A formercybercrime chief stated that: “The Tor network hides criminals. I know it wasnot the intention, but that’s the outcome and this was my job, to tellsociety what the trade-off is here. By having no possibility to penetrate it,criminals can continue their crimes on a global network. It’s very, verydifficult for the police to penetrate, so it’s risk-free crime.”11 Thecase of Olivia Bolles12suggests that even one mistake can end everything as despite the number ofinstances are low and resources it would be unjus to not end the illegalactivity completely.
As in the case of Olivia Bolles, she was caught by anundercover DEA agent by her mistakes, they traced Bolles through the returnaddress P.O. box that she provided. Also, Post Net provided the undercoveragent copies of Bolles driver’s license and vehicle registration, as well asher phone number and VISA credit card. In the P.
O. box was a package returnedto owner containing Swedish fish and Xanax, the package revealed that it hadbeen sent from an automatic postal machine which takes a photo of the senderand is kept for 30 days, which had matched Bolles. Although, justice wascondoned upon her illegal activity her arrest was kept out of public eye inwhich to catch the Dread Pirate Roberts. The case of Olivia Bolles shows that law enforcements will dowhatever they can to ensure justice is made to criminals. Consequentially, Bolleswas indicted for illegal distribution of drugs.
Although, resources are limitedjustice is certainly being served to criminals. As in 2014 David Cameron announcedplans to tackle the dark web in which to ‘root out criminal activity’, as hestated that: “The dark net is the next side of the problem, wherepaedophiles and perverts are sharing images, not using the normal parts of theinternet that we all use.” 13 This clearly illustrates that the activitygoing on within the dark web is clearly unlawful as to which it is profoundlyaffecting society, as criminals have absolute anonymity when committing crimes.Also, my own perspective on justice also relates to Hobbes; “Legal order isessential to maintaining the order of civil society; and the institutions oflegal order are structured in such a way that government in accordance with therule of law is intrinsically legitimate”14,as justice surely should maintain law and order too. As the dark web currentlybeing active in which allowing criminals to exploit any materials of contentwith no repercussions is most definitely injustice.
Furthermore, the use of digital currencies has also increasedwithin the dark web which allows criminals further anonymity to continueillegal activity. As bitcoin is the most used in dark web for currency handing.Bitcoin is the world’s first experimental virtual currency which again like thedark web was created with the intention to be a virtual currency. As one reporthad wrote: “Bitcoin has been the de facto currency of the Dark Web – the’hidden’ Internet accessible only by Tor – since the pioneering marketplaceSilk Road, the ‘eBay of drugs’, arrived in 2011”.15Bitcoins value is determined by how much people are willing to pay for it, itwas created with the aim to store and transfer value in a simple, quick andanonymous way. Bitcoin was majorly involved in the Silk Road16,as “According to the FBI, Silk Road made a total of $1.2bn between 2011 and2013.
The marketplace is widely understood to be the fist ‘killer app’ forbitcoin, and drugs still make up a large proportion of transactions made usingthe digital currency today”.17 Thisillustrates the issues that Bitcoin in the dark web causes as it does not have nocentral bank and no government authority, which also generates future problemsas it cannot be traced at all. Definite question marks about Bitcoin’sscalability. Bitcoin provides tremendous opportunities for criminals to exploitits interconnectedness, accessibility and anonymity to achieve their illicitobjectives, therefore making it harder for the long arm of the law to reachthem.
The anonymity of bitcoin therefore allows for money laundering to becomean upcoming issue as bitcoin offers real unique way for launders to transfertheir funds.Concept of fairness is closely related to justice but hasthat fraction of difference. As Rawls says “‘Fundamental to justice is theconcept of fairness which relates to right dealing between persons who arecooperating with or competing against one another, as when one speaks of fairgames, fair competition, and fair bargains’.18 Fairnessin the dark web arises from the case of one of the biggest dark web sites silkroad.
191 J.Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Harvard University Press 1971) 42 WBGallie, ‘Essentially Contested Concepts’ (1956) 56 Proceedings of theAristotelian Society 167, 1693 Aristotle,The Nicomachean Ethics, Book V, 3, (WD Ross trans, Oxford University Press2009) 85.4 Aristotle,The Nicomachean Ethics, Book 5 5 ErnestJ.
Weinrib, Corrective Justice in a Nutshell (2002) 52 University Of Toronto6 BergmanMK (2001) The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value. Available at: http://bright-planet.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/12550176481-deepwebwhitepaper1.pdf7 RobertW Gehl (2014) Power/Freedom on Dark web: A digital ethnography of the Dark WebSocial Network 8 (UNODC,Manual on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition (2012, New York, UnitedNations), 1.
uk/technology/2016/02/02/dark-web-browser-tor-is-overwhelmingly-used-for-crime-says-study/11 Gordon Corera: What is the dark web and is it a threat? TroelsOerting; former cybercrime chief http://www.bbc.co.
uk/guides/z9j6nbk#zsx3cwx12 UnitedStates of America V. Olivia Louise Bolles aka MDPRO, 6:13-mj-161413 GordonCorera: What is the dark web and is it a threat? UK Government, David Cameronhttp://www.bbc.
co.uk/guides/z9j6nbk#zsx3cwx14David Dyzenhaus Hobbes and the legitimacy of law1 (accepted 13 February 2001)15 GraceCaffyn, Bitcoin on the Dark Web: The Facts, Sep 23, 2015; https://www.coindesk.
com/bitcoin-on-the-dark-web-the-facts/16 UnitedStates of America v Ross William Ulbricht (2004), 14 Crim06817 Ibid,fn1518J. Rawls, ‘Justice as Fairness’ (1958) 67 (2) The Philosophical Review 164, 17819 Ibid,fn17