Deep Web

Synopsis: A feature documentary that explores the rise of a new Internet; decentralized, encrypted, dangerous and beyond the law; with particular focus on the FBI capture of the Tor hidden service Silk Road, and the judicial aftermath.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Alex Winter
Production: EPIX
  1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

It's no longer the

era of industry.

We're in a technological era,


The fascists, they have

the resources.

But we have imagination.

We are making the tools to

take back our sovereignty.

When we make a giant "f*** you" to

the system, it's breaking that stranglehold

on the tools of power

that's used against us.

The fascists always use

the narrative of,

"We are the white knights

in shining armor

"protecting against

the threats.

We come here and we move out

the dark with pure whiteness. "

That's a false narrative,

because there is corruption

in those castles.

The real base of

power lies with us.

We are the darkness.


A trial, which potentially, could have

very far-reaching implications

has just started

in New York City.

A jury will decide a case that could

impact the future of internet privacy.

Thousands of drugs came through

the black website called "Silk Road. "

The government overstepped

their boundaries

- to acquire the info they claim they have.

- This is not going away.

This is gonna be the biggest takedown

of what is currently in existence.

On January 13, 2015,

a criminal trial began for the

accused leader of the Silk Road,

a black market in an area of the internet,

known as "the deep web. "

The deep web is vast,

thousands of times larger

than the visible internet,

what's called the "surface web. "

But the deep web is not a place.

It simply accounts for all of

the unindexed content online...

banking data, administrative code for

governments, corporations and universities.

It's like looking under

the hood of the internet.

Over time, the deep web became

inhabited by people of all types

who wanted to use this

terrain for privacy.

This hidden area of the deep web

is called the "dark net"

and it's accessible with

a software service called "Tor,"

originally developed

by the US military

and now open source

and publicly funded.

And while law enforcement

and the media

have painted a picture

that Tor and the dark net

are nefarious tools for criminals,

it's important to understand that they are

largely used for good by

government agencies, journalists

and dissidents around the world.

In the summer of 2011,

an ad for the Silk Road

appeared on the dark net.

The Silk Road was an underground

exchange for any type of goods,

but mostly it was

used for drugs.

There have always been

drug markets online,

but none with the scale, sophistication

and ease of use as the Silk Road.

It would not remain

underground for long.

Hundreds of thousands of users

use the impossible-to-trace

website which sells drugs,

forged documents

and even hit men.

It's called the Silk Road.

Just look at some of the 13,000 items

offered through that underground site.

Ultra clean cocaine,

clean and real LSD,

high grade MDMA,

also known as "Molly"...

all with fast and free shipping.

It generated roughly

$1.2 billion in sales

with nearly 960,000 users,

both buyers and sellers,

in the US and more than a dozen

other countries worldwide.

YouTube videos like this one

with 15,000 views tell anyone

how to download an untraceable

technology known as Tor, that pulls data

from thousands of computers worldwide

to create this wide open marketplace.

This hidden internet is underpinned

by a virtual currency called "Bitcoin. "

Bitcoins offer anonymized


which can be almost impossible

for the police to trace.

Heroin, opium, cannabis, ecstasy,

psychedelics, stimulants...

opioids... and here they are.

So, oxycodone, all of those.

Codeine, black tar heroin.

You name it, they have it.

They're all listed in the...

in the light of day.

- It's unbelievable.

- The Silk Road's success

was largely due to an innovative

combination of Tor and Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a technology that

uses cryptographic code

to create digital currency.

The sender transmits their

Bitcoin code through a ledger

called the "block chain"

to arrive at the recipient.

Bitcoin is not

perfectly anonymous.

But if used carefully, it facilitates online

purchases without revealing identity.

Bitcoin was an ideal currency

for the Silk Road,

because it allows for anonymity

and is outside the control

of banks and governments.

I really became

aware of the Silk Road

when Adrian Chen at Gawker,

uh, did his profile.

I think in a way,

that story, as much as

it documented the Silk Road,

it created the Silk Road, too.

I mean it... it drove so many people

to the site. I think it probably

was an order of magnitude

increase in users on the Silk Road.

So from that point on, I felt

like I had missed the story

and I... I wanted the next big

story on the Silk Road.

But I was also just fascinated

with the community that was...

you know, being created there.

EBay doesn't have that

kind of user community.

This was like a really

tight-knit movement of people.

It was a fascinating thing

just to lurk around in.

It's a certifiable,

one-stop shop for illegal drugs

that represents

the most brazen attempt

to peddle drugs online

that we have ever seen.

It's more brazen than anything

else by light-years.

I mean, they had a really big,

you know, target on their back.

And they even had been taunting,

to some extent, law enforcement

and, you know, the powers that

be by doing this in the open.

And that's actually part of what

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Alex Winter

Alexander Ross Winter (born July 17, 1965) is a British-American actor, film director and screenwriter, best known for his role as Bill S. Preston, Esq. in the 1989 film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and its 1991 sequel Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. He is also well known for his role as Marko in the 1987 vampire film The Lost Boys, and for co-writing, co-directing and starring in the 1993 film Freaked. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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