Neal Rauhauser: TRAC – Taking Out Illegal Website Operations

Advanced Cyber/IO
Neal Rauhauser
Neal Rauhauser

TRAC: Taking Out Illegal Website Operations

Yesterday the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium published Taking Out Illegal Website Operations (subscription required). This is a fairly short article describing law enforcement’s efforts to remove child pornography purveyor Freedom Hosting, money laundering operation Liberty Reserve, and black market Amazon clone Silk Road.

This is my third article for TRAC. The previous two include a write up on Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Major General James Cartwright, entitled Three Insider Leaks and Anonymous Raids Syrian Electronic Army, an assessment by Matt Osborne and I of twelve gigabytes of content that was available from an intrusion into one of SEA’s major forums.

Ten months ago I sat down and wrote What 2013 Has In Store, thinking I would be back to climate, energy, food security, and water concerns on a regional level. I had a good time during the first quarter, collecting maps and diving into the geopolitical problems that plague the mostly desert to arid lands in an arc from west Africa to the Indus river valley. I dug into social and other networks associated with foreign policy in the second quarter and in the third I began to turn the things I had learned to do into something other people could use, too.

My public writing began in earnest in 2007, it was always in the open, written for the masses, and at times with readership in excess of a hundred thousand. This feels a bit odd, like that first Thanksgiving in my teens when I sat at the adult table, but my writing on illicit networks is going behind the TRAC paywall. TRAC wants exclusive content, I want to grow in this direction, and I’ve demonstrated that I have something worthwhile to say in this area.

This leaves me at a loss for to what to do next with this site. I’m on week five of an eight week low activity period due to doctor’s orders. Once I get testing done in early November I anticipate a prescription will quickly follow, and a few days after that I should be back to a more or less normal schedule. Once that happens I’m going to reevaluate what I am doing, but I suspect that what will happen is this site is going to remain as idle as it has been for the last two months. All that I have left here is map curation and keeping an eye on North Africa, the Mideast, and Central Asia. I know myself well enough to realize I won’t be able to stay on top of things in such a broad area, and I quickly lose interest in things if I don’t feel a certain level of mastery.

If you are interested in political violence and counter-terrorism I strongly suggest you visit TRAC and take the tour.