Principles of Havocscope

1. Policy of Neutrality

Havocscope maintains a strict policy of neutrality when dealing with issues surrounding the black market.  We believe that there are legitimate debates and differing perspectives regarding these activities, and that our role is to present the information objectively and without any hidden agendas.

Therefore, our firm does not participate in activities or provide services that will compromise or could be perceived as compromising our neutrality. We do not offer analysis on current policies or legislation. We do not advocate for a change in laws or funding. Nor do we cast judgment on the activities or the participants.

2. Financially Independent

Havocscope is in the business of providing information. We actively engage in information-gathering and strive to collect data that is relevant and useful. We feel that our role as the world’s premier black market information provider is important, and we will never damage our credibility by promoting a certain narrative in order to meet the requirements of a grant.

Havocscope does not receive any funding from any foundations or government grants. We will never attempt to raise “awareness” about a specific issue in order to fundraise and generate revenue around that issue.

3. Wide Range of Sources

When deciding on the types of data to include on our website, Havocscope considers the credibility of the original source. Most of the information listed is collected worldwide from newspapers articles, academic journals, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Whenever possible, the primary document will be sourced.

In maintaining our neutral stance, we will never limit the data in order to fit a certain narrative or agenda. We strive to provide a wide range of information that allows our users to view all the available data. We will never limit the data provided based upon political agendas or financial reasons. Thus, there will be instances where the information that is presented contradicts previous data.

4.  Transparent Documentation

By their very nature, black market activities are difficult to identify and monitor. Information on these activities is incomplete and almost impossible to verify. That is why we feel it is absolutely important to source every single data point that is listed on our website. Although we do not independently verify the information published by the original source, we feel that documenting where we collected the information will lead to greater transparency about our figures. It also gives our users an avenue to pursue their own research in an attempt to create better data.

Havocscope generally follows the NOTE CITATION method as used by The Chicago Manual of Style when documenting sources and information. However, due to the nature of this site as a web platform rather than an academic journal, the Internet Address is placed into the source. The manner in which the source is displayed is as follows:
Source:  Author First and Last Name, Title of Article, Publication Title, Month/Day/Year of Publication. (If an Internet link is available, the term “Source” will be linked to the article.)

5. Never Perfect, but Better

Havocscope fully realizes that it currently is and will likely always be impossible to offer a perfect picture of the global black market. There are several key issues about data from the black market:

  • A majority of the figures will be based upon estimates and will be almost impossible to verify.
  • The information listed within our database and in the Havocscope Black Market Value is the information that is currently available to the public. It does not represent the full extent of the relevant activity – it only represents information that is available and collected by Havocscope.
  • The manner in which the original source determines the figure is not always available. Some publications explain the manner in which they made the calculation, while others simply report a figure. For instance, the number may be estimated losses, or it may be the amount spent on the actual contraband product.

Based on the nature of the black market and the unavoidable fact that most of the data collected are estimates, it would be completely dishonest and unethical for us to claim that the figures and values we are displaying are a 100 percent accurate representation. There will never be a time when we can say without any qualifications that the numbers listed in our database account for all of the money that is circulating in the illegal economy.

But we can do better than what currently exists.

It is our belief that providing information about the black market in a clear, transparent manner will lead to a better understanding of the issues. This increase in understanding will then create better sources, better data, and better policies to address the many dimensions of the black market.


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