The NPS Phenomenon and the Deep Web: Internet Snapshots of the Darknet and Potentials of Data Mining

  •  Ahmed Al-Imam    
  •  Ban A. AbdulMajeed    


BACKGROUND: The illegal electronic trade of NPS substances on the deep web and the darknet have never been thoroughly mapped. This study will propose and illustrate a blueprint for mapping of the darknet e-marketplace, including activities originating from the Middle East.

MATERIALS & METHODS: Multiple Internet snapshots were taken for the darkest e-marketplace, e-markets, Grams search engine, and e-vendors. In relation to the most popular and high-risk NPS substances, the most dominant e-market will be identified. Special correlation will be carried out with the; population count of shipping countries of NPS, the incidence of rape and sexual assaults, and religious affiliation.

RESULTS: The most popular high-risk NPS were identified; cannabis and cannabimimetic, MDMA, crack, Meth, and LSD. These were geo-mapped primarily into; Netherlands, US, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, and Spain. AlphaBay e-market was found to be a proper representative for the darknet e-marketplace; the main advertised NPS were categorised into cannabis and cannabinoids (1), stimulants (2), empathogens (3), psychedelics (4), benzodiazepines (5), opioids (6), and prescription-related substances (7). The contributing Middle Eastern and Arabic countries included; UAE, Oman, Morocco, Egypt, and Cyprus.

CONCLUSION: The e-commerce activities on the darknet have been ever evolving. Future attempts to study this e-marketplace should be innovative and rely on statistical inference. A blueprint is required for geo-mapping of the shipping countries, including those from the region of the Middle East. Principles of social sciences, including the analysis of the individual basis of power, should be considered.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.