It looks like the FBI has some explaining to do. When experts examined the evidence presented against the alleged founder of dark net drug market Silk Road, something didn’t add up. Specifically, the method the FBI claim to have used to find Silk Road’s servers was apparently fabricated.
The feds claim that they found the Silk Road server location because Silk Road’s login page used a CAPTCHA service that pulled content from the open internet. They say that the server’s IP address was obtainable through that leak, and they followed the IP to Ross W. Ulbricht (a.k.a. the “Dread Pirate Roberts”).
When Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the ICSI and UC Berkeley, examined the FBI’s documentation of their investigation, he said their story simply wasn’t true. The schematics for Silk Road servers show the CAPTCHA going through a protected server, and the FBI’s own records show that they just magically had the IP address.
Now the question is where did they get the IP address and why are they lying? According to Krebs On Security, many in the internet security community believe “that the government is trying to explain away some not-so-by-the-book investigative methods.”
“I find it surprising that when given the chance to provide a cogent… explanation for how they discovered the server, they instead produced a statement… that they knew would be inconsistent with reality,” says Weaver.
Conspiracy theorists and libertarian dark net-ter’s alike can rejoice, if the FBI’s broke the law while investigating the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” he may be free sooner than expected.