Mission and Objectives

The objective of the Darknet and Anonymous Research Center (DARC) is to understand and explain the impact of anonymity technologies on the phenomenon of delinquency in general, and more specifically on the activities of illicit online markets. The DARC program is divided into four parts.

The first component consists of continuous monitoring of anonymity technologies. Knowing the technologies available as well as the risks of misuse of these technologies for criminal purposes makes it possible to capture the latest trends and innovations in terms of anonymity technologies.

The second part seeks to explain the processes that lead offenders to adopt technologies of anonymity. Collect as much information as possible on the motivations that lead an offender to adopt anonymity technologies, the concrete learning processes that make it possible to acquire the knowledge necessary to use these technologies and the evaluation of the benefits and risks related to their use provides knowledge on the transformation of delinquent practices.

The third part attempts to identify the structure of the links that ensure the diffusion of the adoption of anonymity technologies. Given the complexity of anonymity technologies, many offenders will have to turn to others to realize their learning and deepen their knowledge. Conflicts and mutual aid links on discussion forums can also encourage or discourage learning processes. Thus, quickly identifying the key players and understanding the propagation of their message makes it possible to make hypotheses on the learning curves and the predicted impacts that this learning will have.

Finally, the fourth part aims to explain the impact of anonymity technologies on the online illicit markets (OIM) themselves. Protected by the Tor network, encrypted communications and payments made in bitcoins, offenders are now increasingly using cryptomarkets. They differ from other OIM by their massive adoption of anonymity technologies.

Data analyzed at DARC is collected using a look at scientific literature, new technology sites and Google News, a lookout on the discussion platforms frequented by OIM participants, a continuous monitoring of OIM and an online survey of OIM participants. These data allow us to publish quarterly reports on the evolution of anonymity technologies, to probe adaptation processes that lead offenders to adopt anonymity technologies, to qualitatively analyze the discourse of offenders involved in OIM, create a network of conflict and mutual aid links between them and explain their criminal performance and periods of impunity.

This content has been updated on 6 February 2022 at 13 h 56 min.