HereIsTV Review – Deep Web
by Kevin Downey for HereIsTV
There are two eye-opening and potentially fascinating stories being told in the EPIX documentary Deep Web. Each arguably affects every American whether or not they care about their privacy – in this case, online privacy – and the federal government’s evolving interpretation of the 4th Amendment, which guarantees citizens’ protection from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.
Unfortunately, Deep Web, narrated by Keanu Reeves, only does some justice to one of those stories, the revelation of an Internet most people don’t know about.
It’s called the Dark Net and it’s been getting a lot of attention in the media. It’s an encrypted an untraceable part of the Internet where good guys, like journalists, use it to protect the identity of people who may be put in danger for speaking with them. It’s also used by criminals and killers to conduct illegal activities.
Notably, the latter includes the Silk Road online marketplace for illegal drug sales that the federal government – depending on who you ask, illegally or legally seized evidence against Ross William Ulbricht. The government says Ross created and ran Silk Road, which at one point had some 1 million users. He did that, they say, under the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts.
On Friday, Ross was sentenced to life in prison. Earlier this year, a jury in Manhattan found him guilty of seven charges, including computer hacking and money laundering. His lawyers are appealing the decision.
Which is the heart of the second story that Deep Web is telling. As it turns out, that’s an excruciatingly exhaustive story.
For an achingly slow hour or so (it feels much longer), Deep Web turns into a nonstop barrage of talking heads – unlikeable talking heads who incessantly mount an unconvincing argument that the government framed Ross who may or may not have worked alone or with a group of several other people in running Silk Road.
Ross himself is not in Deep Web, for legal reasons, except for old home movies. Yet, long into it, one of those talking heads curiously refers to Ross as being a fascinating person. Which he may be. But it’s a curious comment because in Deep Web he’s not the least bit interesting. Moreover, the people around him – his parents and supporters aren’t fascinating either, nor do they portray Ross as being anything other than a rather dull guy.