The Dark Web And The Power of Anonymity Online

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Gino, fascinated by the dark web’s ability to give us true anonymity, ponders what impact that has on our moral compass.

Anyone can access the deep web/dark web…

Anyone can access the deep web/dark web. It is essentially a hidden net, that hides the user’s internet provider (IP – where you’re accessing it from) as well as the host’s IP (where the site you’re accessing sits). The content of the dark web is usually associated with an online criminal underground, where people can view things anonymously without being tracked. Sadly these things include sites for hiring hitmen, accessing child pornography or, most famously, for ordering drugs. The most famous example of this was the site, Silk Road, although recently the owner of the ‘business’ has been arrested.

Although nobody really knows for sure, the Deep Web may be 400 to 500 times bigger than the surface web. And this is even harder to pinpoint due to its ever-changing nature. Let me put it in context: when you look something up on Google, you can only find a reported 0.03% of pages online. Considering Google is most people’s go-to search engine of choice, this is an incredibly low number, which means a high number of the web is hidden.

So couldn’t this vast amount of web space also be used for things that may be considered good?

So couldn’t this vast amount of web space also be used for things that may be considered good?

Such as a place to truly express yourself anonymously, or perhaps share information that is usually swept under the carpet and kept hush hush? Perhaps we’ve been given something wonderful, but so far, it seems that the majority of users are using it for something a little more sinister. Which goes to show something are people as morally just as they say they are? The Dark Web is like that IP it preciously masks. It’s private. It’s anonymous. It’s powerful. It unleashes human nature in all its forms, both good and bad.

I was surprised by this notion, that he feels safer there then he does on the ‘clear net’

I’ve spoken to a long time friend of mine who frequents the dark net and I’ve asked him about the things he accesses on the dark net, as well as why in particular he chooses to use it. From what I’ve gathered from the conversation we had, he uses it for freedom of information that isn’t reported so he can gain a better understanding on what goes in the world. As well as this he can remain anonymous keeping himself safe. I was surprised by this notion, that he feels safer there then he does on the ‘clear net’ (Dark Web users usually refer to the normal internet people use everyday as the clear net). I went on to ask him about some of the more criminal websites he may have stumbled across in which he responded, ‘sadly there are a lot, you have to be careful’.

It isn’t just a criminal safe haven though. In actual fact, a lot of ‘good’ people use the dark web as well. People who need to protect their identity from the state and private organisations, such as whistleblowers and journalists. Some people in more restricted countries may also need anonymity in order to safely let the world know what is currently going on where they live, which I definitely view as a positive.

…a lot of ‘good’ people use the dark web as well

I feel that the Dark web definitely has its benefits and is definitely a place that holds a lot of potential for good deeds and harmless things that can keep its users safer while keeping their IP adressesses and physical location hidden. However with this we will always have those who wish to use the dark web to view things that are considered taboo and highly illegal.

What do you think? Is the chance for true anonymity online a good thing or is the temptation to abuse this power too much? Let us know what you think (don’t let us know about any illegal online activities – that’s not our business): Facebook or Twitter

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