Deep Web: The Hunt for Dread Pirate Roberts
Directed by: Alex Winter
‘Deep Web’ documents the arrest and trial of Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old American believed to have created the Silk Road, an online black marketplace. It explores via interviews with anarchist cryptographers and online privacy advocates how the deep web works, and the implications for the individuals who use it in terms of the law and personal freedom. The Silk Road was launched in February 2011 using software that enabled its users to carry out transactions anonymously. Its administrator, possibly a team of several people, worked under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts (taken from the novel and cult film ’The Princess Bride’). As the site grew, it caught the interest of the FBI. In 2013 the FBI shut down the site, and tracked down and arrested Ross Ulbricht as its mastermind. Considering that the subject of the film is virtual, it feels action-packed. It includes interviews with drug vendors who dealt using the Silk Road, law enforcement personnel, and Ulbricht’s family, who are still campaigning for his release. It discusses the deep web and its operation, the nature of darknets and Bitcoin trading in a well-illustrated way, striking a good balance with the sensational nature of the court case.
Narrated by Keanu Reeves