Long before the adoption of anonymity technologies, delinquent activities had already been transformed by communication technologies, including Internet chat rooms. Several forums, in addition to serving as a medium of communication, also contain sub-sections allowing offenders to advertise illicit goods and services for sale; these subsections are also known as online illicit markets (OIM). At first glance, OIM seems to be a powerful catalyst for delinquency. By playing a role of convergence, however, the OIM have also offered circumscribed environments in which researchers can draw rich traces of delinquent activities. Both public and private security forces also sought to take advantage of these traces for investigative purposes to identify and arrest OIM participants. All this attention has had the effect of pushing offenders to adapt to preserve or improve the security of their operations. Some offenders opted for tactical adaptation by using anonymity technologies to protect their operations. OIM responded to this demand for technological solutions by integrating three technology classes into their platforms: anonymization of connections, encryption of communications and virtual currencies. These technological adaptations describe a criminal ecosystem that seeks to find some anonymity after realizing that delinquent activities on the internet could generate rich and compromising traces. For the moment, we have very little visibility on the phenomenon of the adoption of anonymity technologies by offenders.

This content has been updated on 13 March 2019 at 9 h 27 min.