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Robot that bought MDMA, passport and baseball cap released by authorities

Published 17/04/2015

The Random Darknet Shopper was let go after being held by police for three months. Above: the MDMA packet after being emptied by police
The Random Darknet Shopper was let go after being held by police for three months. Above: the MDMA packet after being emptied by police

A robot given $100 a week in bitcoins to buy whatever it wanted from the deep web, has purchased a Hungarian passport, a baseball cap fixed with a hidden camera, fake Diesel jeans, a stash can, 200 Chesterfield cigarettes and 10 yellow pills containing 90mg of MDMA each.

Art collective !Mediengruppe Bitnik created the robot called Random Darknet Shopper that randomly buys items and delivers them directly to the exhibition at Kunst Halle St. Gallen, Switzerland.

At the end of the experiment in January, the robot and all the goods purchased were confiscated by Swiss police, the artists meanwhile remained free of all charges.

Three months on and the robot has finally been released. “This is a great day for the bot, for us and for freedom of art," the artists declared on their website.

While the ecstasy was confiscated by public authorities and destroyed, all other items purchased by the robot were deemed legitimate.

Any further prosecution of the artists has been withdrawn by public authorities: “The public prosecutor states that the possession of Ecstasy was indeed a reasonable means for the purpose of sparking public debate about questions related to the exhibition.”

"The public prosecution also asserts that the overweighing interest in the questions raised by the art work Random Darknet Shopper justify the exhibition of the drugs as artefacts, even if the exhibition does hold a small risk of endangerment of third parties through the drugs exhibited"

Whether we now see a rise in people ordering drugs under the name of sparking public debate remains to be seen, but right now art is winning the war on drugs.

Independent News Service

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