By Eleanor Westerbeck, the Chronicle
Globally, the purchase and trade of illegal weapons continues to thrive under the noses of law enforcement and civilians. The darknet, an area of the internet not indexed by any search engines, is a major player in this game. Vendors and buyers scour this hub of illegal activity seeking to purchase items they could not normally acquire: drugs, weapons, pornography, sex—even hitmen for hire.
As terrorism and global violence rages across the world, governments have taken steps to severely limit general access to weapons. However, they are often unsuccessful due to their inability to track and identify perpetrators in the illegal trade. For example, Nigeria, a nation currently plagued by the presence of terrorist group Boko Haram, has attempted to reduce access to weapons in hopes that they will not fall into the wrong hands. They have somewhat successfully limited this on the legal market, but they are virtually helpless when it comes to the illegal trade on the web.
“It’s tough to track weapons because we don't have traditional, advanced infrastructure like many developed nations. It is very possible for these groups, such as Boko Haram, to pay someone to hack and outsmart our systems. Not everyone is working for good in this world, and many are working for profit. We continue to acknowledge that Boko Haram extremely dangerous,” the representative of Nigeria shared in the SPECPOL committee.
Even developed nations suffer the consequences of the illegal weapons trade on the darknet. When questioned in committee, the U.S. shared the belief that all nations must be better prepared and trained to combat this issue. The U.S. representative explained, “The dark web is one of the biggest problems in regarding the small arms trade because it allows countries and individuals to buy guns illegally. To combat, this, we believe that all countries must have sufficient infrastructure, technology, and trained personnel to regulate the dark web. We are fortunate enough to have highly trained technology that protects our interests of national security.” Not all nations can say the same.
It appears that this issue of the small arms trade has relevance within most all nations on the global stage. In the interest of the safety, security and stability of nations, the international community must come together to eliminate the illicit small arms trade present on the darknet.