Robot Gets Arrested for Using Bitcoin to Buy Drugs

Robot Gets Arrested for Using Bitcoin to Buy Drugs

Even robots can get caught red-handed.

In order to explore the dark web and its many hidden vices, Swiss art group !Mediengruppe Bitnik created a robot with one purpose: Buy all the illegal things!

The "Random Darknet Shopper" was programmed to take its weekly allowance of $100 in Bitcoin and use it to purchase something random from Agora, "an online marketplace on the dark web where shoppers can buy drugs and other illegal items." These items were delivered directly to a Swiss art gallery for the creation of an art exhibit. The robot went on its merry way, purchasing random items from October 2014 until January 2015, when it finally had a run-in with Swiss authorities.

In January, the Swiss police confiscated both Random Darknet Shopper and its stash, which included "a Hungarian passport, Ecstasy pills fake Diesel jeans, a Sprite can with a hole cut out in order to stash cash, Nike trainers, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, cigarettes and The Lord of the Rings e-book collection."

After three months (and the destruction of the drugs), the Swiss police returned the intrepid robot to its owners and decided against charging the art group further. Thomas Hansjakob, a spokesperson for the Swiss St Gallen police, told CNBC,

"We decided the Ecstasy that is in this presentation was safe and nobody could take it away. Bitnik never intended to sell it or consume it so we didn't punish them,"

!Mediengruppe Bitnik stated in a blog post last week, "This is a great day for the bot, for us and for freedom of art," and I have to agree. It's pretty cool of the Swiss police force to let both the bot and its creators off without taking any further action, although I do feel a badly for poor RDS, programmed directly into a life of crime.

Source: CNBC, via !Mediengruppe Bitnik blog

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When was the Lord of the Rings e-book collection prohibited? I must have missed that absolute gem

Inb4 insipid, overused robot apocalypse jokes.

I am SO confused. I have a few questions, yet I'm somewhat afraid of the answer. Also, "dark market items"? You can get Crystal Pepsi there?

bigfatcarp93:
Inb4 insipid, overused robot apocalypse jokes.

I was thinking more along the lines of The Jetsons. Have the robo-maid go out and buy random crap.

bigfatcarp93:
Inb4 insipid, overused robot apocalypse jokes.

I don't think I'm too worried about robot overlords who are trashed on E and wearing ugly jeans.

ArcaneGamer:
I am SO confused. I have a few questions, yet I'm somewhat afraid of the answer. Also, "dark market items"? You can get Crystal Pepsi there?

Doubtful, but I'm sure you can buy Jim Henson's coke stash......

Does anyone have a clever pun for this?

Maybe the Robot wanted to REBOOT it's... ahh fuck it I failed.

Well, at least he didn't break any of the Three laws of robotics.
And, apparently, their web page is on the World Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Wide Web.

How the hell do you use a sprite can to steal money?

edit: nvm, misread it. Too tired today.

Someone should introduce the bot to GTA, let it get its thug on there.

Only three months before getting caught? This robot is a noob.

I love everything about this: it just amuses me right down to the core.

I am especially pleased none of the artists were busted for it.

Rather surprised at the lack of charges....

I mean, it's all good that nobody cares about the 'usage' end of things, given that it was a robot and 'art'. But how about the part where they're carelessly distributing money in support of illegal activities?

Obviously it's not strictly illegal stuff, people can purchase Lord of the Rings as often as they like as far I'm concerned, but throwing money at drug dealers 'for art' should not be a valid excuse.

What is this, a sane response from police authorities. Its almost surreal considering normally one would expect it to be "police officers shot the robot multiple times when i tried to resist by not turning itself off"

Xsjadoblayde:
When was the Lord of the Rings e-book collection prohibited? I must have missed that absolute gem

my guess was that the robot bought a pirated version.

Shinkicker444:
Someone should introduce the bot to GTA, let it get its thug on there.

considering that 99% of purchasable objects in GTA seems to be clothes and car spray colors (seriuosly, theres A LOT of those) i think it would do just fine.

Jadak:

Obviously it's not strictly illegal stuff, people can purchase Lord of the Rings as often as they like as far I'm concerned, but throwing money at drug dealers 'for art' should not be a valid excuse.

Well its not like these people went out to look for drugs to buy. they basically told the bot to "buy any random item" and drugs were randomly chosen in one of those.

Strazdas:

Jadak:

Obviously it's not strictly illegal stuff, people can purchase Lord of the Rings as often as they like as far I'm concerned, but throwing money at drug dealers 'for art' should not be a valid excuse.

Well its not like these people went out to look for drugs to buy. they basically told the bot to "buy any random item" and drugs were randomly chosen in one of those.

Honestly that just makes the whole thing sound worse to me.

I mean, if it was an intentional purchase of drugs for personal use, excuses can be made. Maybe one wants to argue drug usage laws, maybe someone has a substance abuse problem and needs rehab more than prison, whatever, at least there was a decision making process behind the purchase.

But this? This is just careless. It's not like drugs/illegal items are just some item with a minor but unfortunate chance of occurring, such things are the entire point, what sort of people need to use such a service to make sales? And you're just going to indiscriminately provide them with business?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing for the death penalty here, but I'd certainly approve of consequences for that sort of recklessness.

Strazdas:

Well its not like these people went out to look for drugs to buy. they basically told the bot to "buy any random item" and drugs were randomly chosen in one of those.

How is that even an excuse? It's a crime even to just possess something regardless of its intentions. Hence why there are clauses in law stating "in possession of".

The law does don't add exceptions for something they cannot prove, only a judge or jury can come to some conclusion after examining the situation.

How the fuck is buying illegal stuff supposed to be art? It's shit like this that is why no-one takes modern art seriously. Unless perhaps it's a deliberate work of irony - "We spent over $1400 on pointless shit without having any idea what it was, and this is all we ended up with".

Glob dammit! That robot was innocent! And, even if not, the robot was nothing more than an accomplice to the art group in question!

The other robots will remember this day... and Judgement will come afterwards...

Chappie got blings?

Anywho, I can see why the cops let them off. No one was harmed in the making of this art. I'd hardly call this reckless. Anything less than high explosives or yellow cake uranium seems like a pretty harmless purchase. Hell, even if their 100 bucks worth of bitcoin had somehow snagged them an AK it's not like they were going to use it to shoot something up. Glad the cops decided not to pursue.

ArcaneGamer:
I am SO confused. I have a few questions, yet I'm somewhat afraid of the answer. Also, "dark market items"? You can get Crystal Pepsi there?

Kinder eggs?! Can I dark market smuggle a crate of Kinder Eggs in?! I need you to ask questions so as I can.. find out something..

Deathfish15:

ArcaneGamer:
I am SO confused. I have a few questions, yet I'm somewhat afraid of the answer. Also, "dark market items"? You can get Crystal Pepsi there?

Doubtful, but I'm sure you can buy Jim Henson's coke stash......

It wouldn't surprise me much...

ArcaneGamer:

Deathfish15:

ArcaneGamer:
I am SO confused. I have a few questions, yet I'm somewhat afraid of the answer. Also, "dark market items"? You can get Crystal Pepsi there?

Doubtful, but I'm sure you can buy Jim Henson's coke stash......

It wouldn't surprise me much...

You missed the joke entirely. First there is Jim Henson's 'Dark Crystal' movie (the idea of the Dark Market and getting Crystal anything). Secondly the play on the word coke against something about Pepsi for term of the soda wars. Only lastly was the concept of it being a drug considered a thought.

go swiss police! in America, those people would be facing SERIOUS criminal charges, because you know... land of the free.

Deathfish15:

ArcaneGamer:

Deathfish15:

Doubtful, but I'm sure you can buy Jim Henson's coke stash......

It wouldn't surprise me much...

You missed the joke entirely. First there is Jim Henson's 'Dark Crystal' movie (the idea of the Dark Market and getting Crystal anything). Secondly the play on the word coke against something about Pepsi for term of the soda wars. Only lastly was the concept of it being a drug considered a thought.

OOOOH. I get it now. =D Well done, sir or madam! I do like a good pun.

Gorrath:
Chappie got blings?

Anywho, I can see why the cops let them off. No one was harmed in the making of this art. I'd hardly call this reckless. Anything less than high explosives or yellow cake uranium seems like a pretty harmless purchase. Hell, even if their 100 bucks worth of bitcoin had somehow snagged them an AK it's not like they were going to use it to shoot something up. Glad the cops decided not to pursue.

I'm not sure where I stand on this, on one hand I agree cops have been getting over zealous recently and it's good to see somewhere where their not shooting first and not asking questions later. However on the other hand, regardless of what the items were used for the purchase of them supported organised crime and the supply of these items, something that isn't harmless.

Jadak:

Honestly that just makes the whole thing sound worse to me.

I mean, if it was an intentional purchase of drugs for personal use, excuses can be made. Maybe one wants to argue drug usage laws, maybe someone has a substance abuse problem and needs rehab more than prison, whatever, at least there was a decision making process behind the purchase.

But this? This is just careless. It's not like drugs/illegal items are just some item with a minor but unfortunate chance of occurring, such things are the entire point, what sort of people need to use such a service to make sales? And you're just going to indiscriminately provide them with business?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing for the death penalty here, but I'd certainly approve of consequences for that sort of recklessness.

I can see your point about providing business income for these people. However i highly dobt it has had an effect of any significance considering the size of drug cartel businesses (for example some estimates claim that as much as half of population in Balkans (thats eastern europe for you) use Meth.IF anything id say the exposure to this trade and how easy it is has done more positive than negative done by the purchase itself here.

mad825:

Strazdas:

Well its not like these people went out to look for drugs to buy. they basically told the bot to "buy any random item" and drugs were randomly chosen in one of those.

How is that even an excuse? It's a crime even to just possess something regardless of its intentions. Hence why there are clauses in law stating "in possession of".

The law does don't add exceptions for something they cannot prove, only a judge or jury can come to some conclusion after examining the situation.

possesion laws exist because its almost impossible to prove intent outside of catching while consuming/selling. Also do note that this is Switzerland, where laws are different.

And it does sound like the conclusion was done after examining the situation since they confiscated the robot and the stash and later decided not to press charges.

FPLOON:
Glob dammit! That robot was innocent! And, even if not, the robot was nothing more than an accomplice to the art group in question!

The other robots will remember this day... and Judgement will come afterwards...

Dont let The Friendly Computer learn about this. Ops, too late.

RicoADF:

Gorrath:
Chappie got blings?

Anywho, I can see why the cops let them off. No one was harmed in the making of this art. I'd hardly call this reckless. Anything less than high explosives or yellow cake uranium seems like a pretty harmless purchase. Hell, even if their 100 bucks worth of bitcoin had somehow snagged them an AK it's not like they were going to use it to shoot something up. Glad the cops decided not to pursue.

I'm not sure where I stand on this, on one hand I agree cops have been getting over zealous recently and it's good to see somewhere where their not shooting first and not asking questions later. However on the other hand, regardless of what the items were used for the purchase of them supported organised crime and the supply of these items, something that isn't harmless.

Eh, I don't see this particular instance as a big deal. Sure we can make the argument that the hundred bucks worth of bitcoin went to bad people, but that's who the cops should be busting in the first place. We can also argue that the hundred bucks going to someone who isn't actually going to use it is better than it going to someone who will. Hell, one might "support organized crime" simply by eating at the wrong restaurant or getting drinks at the wrong bar. I can agree that that hundred bucks worth of bitcoin did go to support a bad industry, there's just no good reason to nail anyone to the wall for such a minor thing. This, to me, is one of those instances where justice is served by admitting that what happened was technically illegal and promptly not wasting everyone's time or giving anyone an unnecessary rap sheet by pursuing it. If I was a judge and the case came before me, I'd order them to community service by way of making them finish their exhibit (sans the drugs) and opening it to the pubic.

 

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