Web

The Darknet Shopper bot is back on the Deep Web; let’s see what it buys next

darknet shopper bot, art, deepweb
!Mediengruppe Bitnik
Back in 2014, European art group !Mediengruppe Bitnik introduced the world to their creation, “Random Darknet Shopper,” and now the little bot that could is back, creating Mail Art and pushing social boundaries. As its name indicates, it was created to search the Deep Web and buy random items, which the artists then display in exhibitions. And as you can imagine, there’s plenty of trouble a little shopping bot can get up to out there.

In September of last year, the Darknet Shopper bot took its first randomized steps into the Deep Web marketplace Agora, with its weekly allotment of $100 in Bitcoin. It didn’t make big news until a month later, when it ordered 10 “yellow twitter” ecstasy pills. Delivered from Germany, they sold for $48 and were supposed to contain 120mg of MDMA. Previous purchases, like a Sprite stash can or an e-book copy of The Hobbit may be questionable in other ways, but the ecstasy was illegal. Still, the artists included the bagged pills in their exhibition in Switzerland.

In January, the St. Gallen prosecutor’s office confiscated the bot the day after the exhibition closed, along with the E pills. After testing, the Swiss authorities confirmed each pill contained 90mg of MDMA. The investigators released the bots and the packaging used to deliver the E back to !Mediengruppe Bitnik in April, but destroyed the pills.

Last week, the Random Darknet Shopper made its first purchase since its release; a fake Lacoste polo shirt that it acquired for $35.

fake lacoste shirt

While a fake Lacoste shirt won’t have the same body-rubbing effect as the pills, !Mediengruppe Bitnik has so far succeeded at sparking a debate about the implications of Deep Web markets. These marketplaces mix perfectly legitimate sales with illegal ones, and are nearly impossible to eradicate. If that means the Random Darknet Shopper occasionally orders a copy of someone’s passport or a small bulk-order of drugs, so be it.

Carmen Weisskpof and Domagoj Smoljo, the artists of !Mediengruppe Bitnik told the Guardian that they’re not afraid of being prosecuted for what their bot buys on the Deep Web. “We are responsible for everything the bot does, as we executed the code, but our lawyer and the Swiss constitution says art in the public interest is allowed to be free,” Smolja said. It will be interesting to see if one of the bot’s next random purchases tests that assertion.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ gifts perfect for the video game fan in your life

Chances are someone on your holiday shopping list is a fan of Fortnite. As the most popular game on the planet, there are plenty of Fortnite-themed gift options available for purchase in stores and online. Here are the best ones we found.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Computing

Buying a laptop on Black Friday? Don't make one of these rookie mistakes

Shopping for a laptop on Black Friday can win you some excellent deals, but you should also avoid making common mistakes. Check out what to avoid when buying a laptop for Black Friday and what danger signs to be wary of.
Mobile

Google honors Veterans Day by highlighting military service stories

For Veterans Day, Google is honoring the heroes that served the country with a new Google Doodle that highlights the stories of five veterans from the five different branches of the military.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Mobile

Apple to boost its Amazon presence with listings for iPhones, iPads, and more

Apple is about to start offering more of its kit on Amazon. The tech giant currently only has very limited listings on the shopping site, but the deal will see the arrival of the latest iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and more.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Will Chrome remain our favorite web browser with the arrival of newest version?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
News

Zoom in on famous works through the Art Institute of Chicago’s new website

Art lovers, listen up. The Art Institute of Chicago has given its website a serious makeover with new features that let you get up close and personal with more than 50,000 artworks by famous (and not so famous) artists.
Computing

Over a million veterans now eligible for Comcast’s Internet Essentials program

Comcast's low-cost Internet Essentials program, which provides internet access for just $10 per month, has expanded to include U.S. veterans. One million veterans now qualify for the service.
Computing

Google’s Squoosh will get an image web-ready with in-browser compression

Google's latest web app development is an image editing and compression tool, Squoosh. In just a few clicks, it can take a huge image and make it much lighter and web-friendly, all in your browser.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Social Media

‘Superwoman’ YouTuber Lilly Singh taking a break for her mental health

Claiming to be "mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted," popular YouTuber Lilly Singh has told her millions of fans she's taking a break from making videos in order to recuperate.