Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road

For those that are not in the know, Ross William Ulbricht, a former student of The University of Texas at Dallas, was convicted of being the Head Honcho of the underground internet marketplace called Silk Road.

Ulbricht administered Silk Road, which dubbed itself as an anonymous marketplace. Ulbricht also went by the pseudonym of Dread Pirate Roberts.

Silk Road served as a black market and is known to be the “first modern darknet market,” it served as a place to facilitate the sales of illegal drugs between various buyers and sellers. The site was part of the deep web and “operated a Tor hidden service,” allowing users to browse the site anonymously.

The site was founded in the year of 2011, and it slowly grew over time. The site was abruptly closed down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2013, in an operation that also took down Dread Pirate Roberts as the leader of Silk Road.

Dread Pirate Roberts was taken to trial and convicted of more than six charges in his relation to the Silk Road marketplace. He was to serve his life in prison and would not be able to have the option of parole.

The Appeal

It seems that Ross has one more move, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The legal team of Ross has participated in the process of filing a writ of certiorari. A writ of certiorari, essentially orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it.

The legal team is seeking to dispute the conviction and sentencing of Ross by the prior court in the Supreme Court.

Ross’s attorney, Kannon K. Shanmugam, added in the filing, stating:

“This case — one of the highest-profile federal criminal prosecutions in recent years — presents two important questions requiring the Court’s review.”

Their legal team wants to confront the first aspect of the seizure of an individual’s internet traffic information without probable cause; they believe that this act violates the Fourth Amendment.

The second matter that they want to contest is that of the Sixth Amendment:

“The second question is whether the Sixth Amendment forbids a judge from finding facts necessary to support an otherwise unreasonable sentence.”

Ross was convicted in 2015 of several counts that are always brought up as points when naysayers refer to cryptocurrency. He was convicted of money laundering, hacking of computers, and others related to drug trafficking.

The lawyer continued his statement saying:

“This case is an appropriate vehicle in which to provide much-needed clarity on critical and recurring questions of federal criminal law.”

Ross Ulbricht case and why it matters

The mother of convicted did bring up different significant points in regards to how this case has a more substantial significance to society and is more than a case regarding that of Silk Road.

She commented to Bitcoinmagazine:

“I’m not going to give up, and our family is not going to give up. This is about important constitutional protections and freedoms for us all. So we will continue to talk about Ross and our rights as American citizens.”

As a significant amount of activity and lives are spent on the web, the right to privacy is something of utmost importance to all. The user or citizen should be able to choose what information to reveal and what not to reveal.

“The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are a part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets, and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner, and timing of the use of those parts we choose to disclose.”

The Fourth amendment does account for this right when it incorporates this passage:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The aspect of anonymity and other rights that might not be present in the post 9/11, post-Snowden revelations, surveillance-oriented society, where one sacrifices privacy for security,  possibly, also contributes to the advent and rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.