Chapter 18 – Acquisition Hypothesis

@gottiewrites 01/10/18

I’ve spent the last day looking for any trace of Rob on the dark web. Surprisingly, I had some luck! I’m very aware that time might be running out for this essay, as the things I’m uncovering seem to be getting more and more illegal. I wouldn’t be surprised if this blog gets filed with a genuine cease and desist notice before long. But until that happens, I’m going to keep posting. Onwards!


Dark Web Questionnaire

I started my investigations by running a search on the dark web for ‘silentwakes’. Rob was using that name on LiveJournal since 2011, so I was hoping he’d have used the name elsewhere too, but there wasn’t anything.

I checked the email inbox on his laptop again, looking for other websites he had accounts with. That way I’d be able to see what usernames he had registered. But they all used the username ‘silentwakes’ too, so that didn’t give me any clues.

In the end, I found Rob by using a domain name he registered back in 2014. I ran a search on the dark web for http://www.silentwakesficarchive.com, because I knew he’d been caught out using a personal website to host photos once before when he was trying to stay anonymous.1

Nothing came up for that URL, but I remembered that he had another website domain, one he bought for his degree coursework in 2014, www.copyrightsurveyanswers.com. I found that on his email account, as mentioned in Chapter 15. The website has been taken down now, but when I ran a search for the URL on the deep web, I found these posts in a forum.2

He was asking questions for his degree at first. That’s how it started.

forum1

forum2

uniwork14: I was wondering if I could interview someone about how they use the deep web to share copyrighted intellectual property through pirating and torrenting? It’s for school. Anon, of course. You can fill out the survey here: http://www.copyrightsurveyanswers.com

Tygerbright: What are you studying, kid?

uniwork14: Law. I’m shadowing a lawyer over the summer who’s working on a copyright case. I’m writing a paper about the growing ways in which materials are being shared online. Mainly its teaching me a lot about torrenting, which im not sure is the intended outcome.

Tygerbright: Do you have access to the firm’s network? Have they given you a login?

uniwork14: Sure. I’m using some client research for my project. They’ve got a lot of data from the movie company who hires them to take down movie copyright infringements online.

Tygerbright: If you have access to the network that means you have access to things I can use. Want a job for some pocket money?

uniwork14: Will you give me an interview too?

Tygerbright: I’ll give you 50000 usd in bitcoin, how about that

uniwork14: Uh….if you’re serious, deal. Obviously.

After that, their conversation went private.

I can’t work out what this means. Why would someone pay Rob money to get access to a law firm’s network? Why so much money? This user must be making even more, if he can offer that much to a stranger on a whim.

Whatever is going on here, I’m going to guess that @tygerbright paid Rob this amount in Bitcoin. So we’ve possibly found the origin of the @lillyletters donation.

I bet it would have driven Rob mad to have so much money, but in the inaccessible Bitcoin format. He wouldn’t have been able to spend it on anything except illegal stuff on the deep web, which isn’t much use for a student who needs grocery money. (I did notice ‘uniwork14’ has a shop friended which sells weed, so I imagine at least some of the Bitcoins were used for nefarious purposes.)

Rob must have needed to find a way to get the Bitcoin into his real-life bank account in USD, with an excuse for where it came from, just in case the tax man came knocking.

Rob was already in the Loch & Ness fandom at the time, so the fake donation route must have seemed like an obvious answer to his problem. I think he got caught a lot earlier than he was expecting to, though. If he was earning as much as @tygerbright offered in the forum post, he had a lot more money than $13,000 that he needed to get into USD. He just chose that amount because that was the legal limit for a monetary gift without it being taxed.

I don’t know if he ever got the rest of the money out through a different route. This is as far as I’ve got.

I’m trying to find out what @tygerbright could have wanted to use Rob’s law firm access for, but this is by far the hardest piece of research I’ve ever had to do, for anything. The deep web is completely locked down. The whole point of it is to be anonymous. They don’t want anyone to know what’s going on, ever.

For today, I’m calling it quits. It hurts my brain too much.


Involvement from Nathan’s friend Bradley Saffitz

To try and find out more about Rob’s mysterious conversation with Nathan’s friend Bradley in the street this week, I tracked down Bradley’s social media accounts. He had a really weak password on his Facebook account, and I got access. Bradley had messages from Nathan dating as recently as a few weeks ago.

Here’s a few excerpts of interest. Several months ago they had this short conversation:

Nathan: great to see you yesterday! Here’s that thing: [link to a website to download torrenting software].

Bradley: ah great, say thanks to rob!

Bradley: ask rob if I should seed or leech

Nathan: rob says ‘you should seed to be nice, but swap to leech if your internet goes slow’. I have no idea what that means, please don’t ask any follow up qus. What do you need this for again?

Bradley: gaming stuff

Nathan: ah. not my area, then.

Bradley: what does rob use torrenting for?

Nathan: I’d rather not know.3

Bradley: haha I hear you. and it would be great if you could pass on my headshots to your agent again. I’m not even getting auditions these days. Getting slightly worried about it. I haven’t had a job in months

Nathan: I’ll email her tomorrow. Don’t worry, something will come along soon, it always does.

Bradley: as long as its before my visa needs renewing, I’m not too bothered. See you at the galaxy game next week!

 Then two weeks after that:

Nathan: Did you catch the game last week?

Bradley: I did! So close, dude. Next time.

Nathan: You should come over and watch the Sunday game here. Rob’ll be busy with freelance work

Bradley: sounds good man. I’ll bring my trunks

Nathan: hell yeah, we’ll get our hot tub on.

Bradley: great. I need it. Gotta get my head on straight. This visa plea is driving me round the bend.

Nathan: you’ll get it. I know you will. They’d be stupid to chuck you out just because you’re going through a slow patch. You’ll get a job any day now and it’ll all be fine.

Bradley: urgh. I can’t think about it anymore. Let’s just get wasted.

Nathan: I wish there was something I could do to help. I feel so guilty, dragging you out to LA with me

Bradley: haha, it’s not your fault you’re earning the big bucks and I’m not.

Nathan: offer is still open to lend you money if you need it

Bradley: ah, mate. It’s not the money that’s the issue. I have savings. it’s the income bracket, you know that. unless you can forge me an employment form I have no hope lol

Nathan: hmmm. Come over, let’s talk to rob about this.

I’m not sure what freelance work he’s talking about Rob doing here. Maybe he means some acting work outside of his contract with NBC, like filming an advert?

Then, another chat took place between Bradley and Nathan just before Nathan and Rob were seen at the immigration court:

Bradley: Nate, I’m still not sure about this. Do you really think it’s a good idea?

Nathan: rob has done this before. I trust him.

Bradley: I’m risking everything here. I could go to jail if this goes wrong.

Nathan: it wont. He knows what he’s doing.

Nathan: but we can find another way if you are really that worried. You can always fly home and come back next year.

Bradley: no, I trust you. and you trust him. If he says he’s done this before, then…. Maybe it will be fine.

Nathan: relax, mate. It’ll be over and done with in a few days.

Bradley: hah. We’ll see. I’ve not known the immigration office to do anything in a few days that could take a few months.

So. It seems that Bradley was having visa issues too. What does that mean? Is this connected, or have I totally lost the plot?

I am so frustrated and confused by this whole thing. Everything I learn seems to just raise more questions. I know that I’m so close to an answer. This must all link together, somehow. But how? What is this all about?

It’s 3am, and I’ve been reading forum pages all day, so I’m going to go to bed and try to work this out tomorrow. If any of you have any suggestions on what the heck they’re playing at here, I would really, really appreciate it.

Meanwhile, Nathan’s break from filming has been extended by another week, according to the tabloids. Clearly I’m not the only one over-stretching themselves. He must be sick or something. He needs to take it easy.

– This is Margot, signing off as she falls asleep on the keyboard.


Footnotes

1. See Chapter 13 for his adventures in community witch-hunting, where he was caught hotlinking to his fic website on @landn_honesty.
2. I’m not even going to link to any of this stuff. I do NOT want you searching it out. You’re just going to have to trust me.
3. I WOULD, THOUGH. Torrenting is, while not necessarily illegal in itself, usually used for pirating software/games/films because it’s hard to track the source of the data transfers. What was Rob torrenting? He had more money than sense, surely he could buy any games he wanted? Especially with his background in copyright law. I’m so curious, but I have no idea how I could find out something like this.

Comments (6412)

Anonymous this whole thing gives me a bad taste in my mouth.

Anonymous I use the deep web a bit for work (don’t ask) so I had a little look and tygerbright has a mailing list at the bottom of his site. Maybe you could see who’s subscribed and track back?

gottiewrites I had a look at this. The mailing list thing didn’t check out, sorry.

Anonymous so Bradley and Nathan were both having visa troubles? Were they at court at the same time?

Anonymous maybe r and n were at court to support b? that makes more sense than N having issues with his visa anyway. We only have proof from the tabloids that his was expiring, right?

Anonymous bradley had a walk-on role in S01E12 of L&N, right? He was that zombie in the white make-up with the missing eyeball. He’s a pretty rubbish actor tbh, I’m not surprised he’s not getting any work.

Girlwiththepearliphone oh yeah!! I remember that! he was in the behind the scenes blu-ray extra wasn’t he? In the bit where Rob, Nathan and Anya are giving a tour of the set. Here, at 08:45 mins in:

Rob: Here we have the props department, putting the finishing touches on a very fetching zombie.

Brad: [sitting in a make-up chair, getting prosthetics glued over his eyes] Hello! I can’t actually see you!

Nathan: This is the kind of torment our actors have to go through to give you the quality content you’ve come to expect.

Brad: All in a day’s work for a professional.

Anya: I’m so glad I don’t have any prosthetics. I get an extra hour’s sleep before call time.

Brad: Is that our banshee queen?

Anya: Yep! Looking good, Brad. I brought you a croissant.

Brad: You are my saviour.

Rob: Over here, we have the costume! Look at this bikini  over here – Nathan will be wearing it in the next episode.

Nathan: That is an outrageous lie! It’s for the after-party.

Anonymous if I were trying to get bitcoins into real cash, I’d spend it on the deep web on drugs and get them sent to an Airbnb I rented under a fake name. Then I’d pay some kid to sell them on the street for cash. foolproof. Rob’s a pussy.


final cover< Chapter 17 | Contents pageGoodreads | Chapter 19 >

Gottie is a fangirl for Loch & Ness, a TV show about paranormal detectives. She’s convinced that two of the male actors are secretly dating, and she’ll stop at nothing to prove it. When her online investigations accidentally uncover far more than she expects, she becomes complicit in secrets beyond just a romantic conspiracy theory.

An internet thriller told in a ‘true crime’ style recollection of events, the novel includes social media extracts such as modern Tumblr posts and early-noughties LiveJournal blog entries.

More information | Support on Patreon | Discuss theories on Discord | Leave a tip on Ko-fi

 

2 thoughts on “Chapter 18 – Acquisition Hypothesis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s