Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison Without Parole

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Ross Ulbricht

News has emerged that the founder of the Silk Road website, Ross Ulbricht, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the role that he played in creating one of the most infamous websites to have ever existed anywhere on the Internet. This was a website that was at the heart of the online drugs trade as well as containing classified ads for a number of other highly illegal activities between 2011 and when it was closed down by the FBI some three years later.


During that time it is alleged that Ulbricht personally made in the region of $18 million while the website facilitated the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in goods, but now that stands for nothing with him locked up behind bars for the rest of his life. His charges? Guilty of computer hacking, money laundering, and drug trafficking and all due to various classified ads that appeared on his website from people around the world.

Ross William Ulbricht and Joshua DratelThe site itself was relatively well known for some time and indeed it could be argued that it was one of the most famous websites to have emerged from what is known as the Deep Web. This is a part of the Internet that was actually generated by people such as the CIA, but which has now been exploited by criminal masterminds around the world. The key thing with the website is that it offers you a high degree of anonymity allowing you to take part in various activities with you being virtually untraceable.

We say virtually untraceable as Ulbricht himself has become a classic example of what can still happen to you even if you do take part in various activities on the Dark Net. In order to access the website you have to go through something called TOR and it bounces your location all over the globe so that nobody knows where you really are. This has actually been used by activists and journalists in various countries to great effect, but it has also been exploited by those that wish to commit crimes.

In the case of Ulbricht, he was guilty of creating his own downfall after posting his email address on a normal forum linked to the online virtual currency called Bitcoin. This then led to his arrest in a library in San Francisco after some clever detective work from analysts in the US linked that email to an account name that had been promoting Silk Road elsewhere.

But what does all of this mean for the Internet? Well, there are some that argue he should not have been jailed as he merely created and hosted a website that others then exploited, but there is still the small matter of him earning a substantial sum of money from the website. He may not have been directly involved in the drugs trade, but he provided dealers with the vehicle that allowed them to carry out their trade with less expectation of law enforcement agencies beating down their door.

The sentence handed down to Ulbricht, in many peoples eyes, is extremely harsh. Killers, rapists and and pedophiles get a second chance at life but make a website that is a market for drugs that are currently illegal and you go away and will never see the free world again. These are the risks that the owners of these websites face.