A representative of the ATF is scheduled to appear at Park City High School next month to talk to parents about the Dark Web—a phrase that has become familiar here over the past two years. The speech is being presented as part of the Front Line, Blue Line program.
Nearly two years ago, the local community was shaken by the news that two 13-year-old best friends attending Treasure Mountain Junior High had overdosed on the synthetic drug “pink” obtained through the Dark Web.
This July, local authorities alerted parents that drugs were, again, being ordered on the Dark Web. And a 17-year-old girl from Park City High, who was involved in a previous case, is facing a Felony Drug Distribution charge now in juvenile court.
Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson said that the presentation will be held on September 10th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm at Park City High.
“This individual is a special agent with the U.S. department of Justice, the bureau of alcohol, tobacco and firearms. He’s trained over 1,000 law enforcement officers on investigations on the Dark web. He’s going to come here and give a presentation designed for parents and educators.” Olson continued, “This is not an event for children, but for parents and educators. He’s going to give a hands-on demonstration of the Dark web. He’s going to explain Dark web marketplaces and how they work. He’s going to explain cryptocurrency and then he’s going to talk about safety and security implications for the Dark web.”
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said the concept of the Dark Web is complicated.
“It’s a location where a lot of people are going to obtain nefarious items. That’s anything from drug usage to illicit firearms anything in-between that.” Carpenter explained, “It’s largely controlled by the use of bitcoin so it’s very difficult to track, it’s not impossible to track but it is difficult to track. Generally speaking you don’t just enter into a web browser an address it’s typically run by hardware or software that’s obtained.”
Chief Carpenter said that before 2016, they had heard of the Dark Web. But the idea that teenagers as young as 13 were utilizing it was an eye-opener.
“Typically, it’s very important that parents are having control of what’s going on with their kids devices, their handhelds, their computers their laptops. I would say, as we’ve always said, that you need to be the parent, step-up and check their history.” Carpenter said, “If you need to hire somebody to block access to some of those things. Even though they load some of this on and they can delete the item. They can remove the hardware or software it will still leave elements of that. You can still come back and track some of that history.”
He said parents need to look closely at the social media their children are using. He said they can’t necessarily assume that any access point is immune from mis-use.
“Whether it be on their school computer.” Carpenter continued, “A lot of times these people find loopholes in the system and we’re never going to say you can’t access anything. The reality is it’s really a slippery slope and there’s a lot of things on the dark web that are very very harmful to everyone, not just young people.”