Random Darknet Shopper Robot Arrested for Randomly Shopping

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

From Ed Coll:

Now that’s a cyber criminal! Robot is ARRESTED by police for buying ecstasy on the dark net
by Richard Gray
Daily Mail
April 20, 2015

A robot has been ‘arrested’ by Swiss police after it bought a supply of illegal drugs on a hidden region of the internet known as the ‘dark net’.

The automated computer program was designed as an online shopping system that would spend up to $100 each week by randomly purchasing an item offered for sale on the deep web.

The robot would then have its purchase mailed to a group of artists who then put the items in an exhibition in the town of St Gallen, in north east Switzerland.

The items it bought included a pair of Nike trainers, counterfeit designer jeans, the scan of a Hungarian passport and a set of UK Fire Brigade masterkeys.

Random Darknet Shopper

However, it seems the Random Darknet Shopper crossed the line when it purchased 10 Ecstasy tablets, which arrived in a vacuum packed bag hidden in a DVD case.

Police seized the drugs, the computer and the rest of the items it had purchased.

Tests on the tablets later revealed they contained 90mg of the class-A drug MDMA, which the police then destroyed.

The computer and the empty bag the ecstasy came in have now been returned to the group behind the bot, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, along with the other items it bought.

They described the police’s actions as an ‘unjustified intervention into the freedom of art’.

Writing on their blog, London based artists Carmen Weisskopf and Domagoj Smoljo, who were behind the project, said: ‘Random Darknet Shopper has finally been released and is now back in our possession.

‘At the same time we also received the order for withdrawal of prosecution.

‘In the order for withdrawal of prosecution the public prosecutor states that the possession of Ecstasy was indeed a reasonable means for the purpose of sparking public debate about questions related to the exhibition.

‘The public prosecution also asserts that the overweighing interest in the questions raised by the art work Random Darknet Shopper justify the exhibition of the drugs as artefacts, even if the exhibition does hold a small risk of endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited.

‘We as well as the Random Darknet Shopper have been cleared of all charges. This is a great day for the bot, for us and for freedom of art!’

The Random Darknet Shopper project was set up as an attempt to highlight some of the dilemmas that can be thrown up by dark net markets and anonymous internet use.

Read the rest of this article here.