Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Patrick O' Donovan has called for tougher controls on the use of open source internet browsers and payment systems which allow users to remain anonymous in the illegal trade of drugs, weapons and pornography. Deputy O’Donovan has written to the Oireachtas Communications Committee, of which he is a member, asking it to investigate the matter.
“An online black market is operating which protects the users’ anonymity and operates across borders through the use of open source internet browers and payments systems which allow users to remain anonymous. This effectively operates as an online supermarket for illegal goods such as drugs, weapons and pornography, where it is extremely difficult to trace the identity of the buyers. We need a national and international response to clamp down on this illicit trade.
“I have written to the Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, John O’Mahony TD, asking that this matter be examined by the Committee given the severity of the issue. I believe that the Committee should invite relevant agencies including the Gardaí, Customs and officials from relevant Government departments to participate.
“I also intend to raise the matter in the Dáil with both the Ministers for Justice and Communications, with a view to seek assurances that an EU-wide response is developed to respond to the operation of open-source internet browsers which protect anonymity in order to facilitate illegal online activity.
“Law enforcement agencies in the United States have recently taken action to address this issue, however it appears the solution was temporary as replacement browsers quickly appeared to ensure the continuance of the illegal trade. This proves the need for enhanced international co-operation and engagement to ensure that those involved in these activities can be brought to justice and that sites of this nature are dealt with appropriately.”