There's a Problem in the Silk Road Trial: the Jury Doesn't Get the Internet
J Thoendell stashed this in Cryptocurrency
The trial began this week for Ross Ulbricht, the 30-year-old Texas man accused of being the mastermind behind the dark net drug market, Silk Road. But as the jury began hearing testimony in the case, it was clear the technological knowledge gap would impede the proceedings.
Judge Katherine Forrest said right off the bat when the case began that “highly technical” issues must be made clear to the jury.
"If I believe things are not understandable to the average juror, we will talk about what might be a reasonable way to proceed at that time," she said.
After the first day of proceedings, Forrest told the prosecution to be more clear with explanations of concepts central to the case, noting she was unhappy with its “mumbo-jumbo” explanation of the anonymizing service Tor. She also requested all readings of chat transcripts include emoticons.
The majority of the second day of testimony from Homeland Security Special Investigation Agent Jared DerYeghiayan continued setting the groundwork for the case, explaining in-depth many concepts central to Silk Road. US Attorney Serrin Turner’s questioning was so thorough it bordered on tedious for the more tech-savvy observer, asking DerYeghiayan to explain ‘wiki,’ ‘internet chat,’ and ‘add buddy.’
There’s a distinct knowledge gap between what an average juror or judge can be expected to already know and the intricacies of modern cybercrime.