The Dark Net Rises

The Dark Net rises!

Most of us might have heard about the ‘Dark Net’. Seeing it in movies, on the news or from other sources it intrigued me, and therefore I started a research on the ‘Dark Net’.

What is the Dark Net?

We are all familiar with stories that the Dark Net is a place for people to gather child pornography or dealers who buy and sell their drugs anonymously. Well, journalists who entered the Dark Net for journalism purposes confirmed those prejudices. Using a TOR browser will give you access to the Dark Net, and allows you in the world where the possibilities go beyond the standard web browsers.

Tor browser

Internet through time

The internet has changed over the last decades and so it will, maybe even more rapidly, change in the future. We can say that internet is becoming more innovative, more interesting and widens the possibilities of our (digital) life. But on the other hand, it could be considered as a dangerous place. In short we could say that the Dark Net is one of the most interesting an exciting places in the world, because of its mysterious and untraceable or anonymous features.

An upcoming trend on the internet is privacy. The revelations of Edward Snowden opened up our eyes and we are now more concerned who is watching/listening along with us while we are on the internet, we are concerned what happens to our personal information that is posted on the internet and we want to know what happens to our data. That is where the Dark Net comes in.

Possibilities of the Dark Net

The Dark Net with all its negative aspects opens up some possibilities as well. A practical recent example is uploading a new released album on the net and gives permission to download the album for free (legal in the Netherlands, illegal in other parts of the world), because the download is untraceable.

Another political advantage is the ‘freedom’ of speech. In most Arabic countries censorship is a big issue. In Turkey for instance, Youtube was blocked and therefore not Turkish citizens were not able to access Youtube on a standard browser. Blocking Youtube (or other individual sharing websites) may have many reasons, but mostly it is to prevent criticism of a ruler, government or laws, to be spread across the country, this could cause political unrest. Social media played a big role in the Arabic revolution, and so did the Dark Net. Critics could anonymously write down their thought and could not be prosecuted, because of the intractability the critics are free to post what they want.

Finally to give one more example why the Dark Net might become more important, Facebook started a page there as well.

Dangerous facets of the Dark Net

At the opposite site of all the possibilities and advantages are the dangerous aspects of the Dark Net. As I said in the introduction, the Dark Net is a place where the pedophiles could find what they want, where drug deals are as normal as buying something on eBay. Also something against the freedom of writing anything you want, there are some rumors that the IS is planning attacks on the Dark Net.

So dangerous or will it bring possibilities?

To conclude we can say that the biggest advantage is that there are no more authorities checking your internet traffic, there are no more companies saving and storing your browser history or data. These components will bring the most relieve among the current internet users. Also the fact that there will be no more advertisements or disturbing pop-ups is a advantage and decrease the level of irritation among the internet users.

I believe the Dark Net is going mainstream and more people will start using it. The Dark Net is already used in different levels of the civilization, from students to outcasts to army people. So will we all be on the Dark Net soon?


“The Dark Net” (Jamie Bartlett, 2015)


5 responses to “The Dark Net Rises”

  1. thommenju says :

    Very interesting article on the different aspects of the dark net. In my opinion it comes down to net neutrality: Who owns the internet? How anonymous should it be? Was the development in the recent years the right one? Big organizations like facebook/google or goverments exploit the information provided for their purpose.
    The dark net throws us back into the nineties and allows for anonymous communication again. The dark net is owned by noone. Therefore it is the primordial form of the internet again with all its pros and cons. I’m very curious to see how the dark net is going to develop during the next years: More regulation or increased autonomy and anonymity?

    • 416837ln says :

      The article is very nicely written and with the first comment they raise some interesting questions about the future of the dark net and how it is going to develop. In my opinion, its future depends on the approach that the NSA (and other security agencies) are going to have regarding the continuation of mass surveillance and not only just mass meta data but very often content as well. If they are going to continue in the abovementioned manner then the usage of the dark net is going to get even more widespread.
      The other option would be a more focalized surveillance system that is extremely thorough, but only in the case of suspicious people or events and working closely together with other investigation and intelligence agencies, which method is actually more effective for national security purposes. However, I doubt that they will or can be forced by anyone to change their point of view on mass surveillance, so I predict a “bright future” for the dark net.

  2. 437197dv says :

    The dark net is interesting indeed! Not just for privacy purposes, but also because it has the possibility to deregulate major companies such as Google and Facebook, who are now basically on their way to monopolizing the Internet, and basically they are defining the borders of what our possibilities are on the Internet.

    I don’t believe the dark net will become mainstream in the coming 5 years. Because the tor network operates as a software client on your computer, it is as safe as your own operating system. Meaning that Windows users will still have the fear of being discovered, as the system is not 100% safe. The same goes for other security measures that the users have to make themselves in order to secure their Tor browsing. At the moment, main Tor/dark net users are browsing through Linux. But Linux is not even close to Windows and Apple at the moment, so it remains for a niche in the nearby future I guess.

    But as you mention, there is lots of potential in the dark net and its anonymous browsing possibilities. I guess the next thing needed to happen is another big privacy scandal, with Edward Snowden-like proportions. This scandal woke up the world already, but we still seem to forget that companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook still love to use our data. Even though they disguise it in ‘better user experience, more personalized interaction’.

    It is interesting to see how these aspects will develop in the coming years.

  3. miflossrox says :

    Very interesting read and the article does bring up some important points.

    A commonly believed misconception of the dark web is that it’s completely anonymous and untraceable. Connections to Tor go through a number of servers (proxies) and are highly encrypted making it very difficult to trace. However, the data is unencrypted when the final server communicates with the destination making it possible for governments and hackers to collect the data and user’s information. It must be said, however, that can prove to be very difficult to do so. Regardless, in the US many criminals were caught this way.

    In fact, no virtual connection can be made 100% secure. By increasing the level of encryption, one does not eliminate the threat of an external party having access to the information. By doing so, one merely decreases the odds of such an occurrence as it would be much more time consuming.

    This becomes a very scary thought indeed as we become more and more reliant on the internet as a whole (both visible and dark).

    Great article!


    • pimtrein says :

      Miflossrox correctly stated that a data connection via tor is in fact not 100% anonymous and untraceable as it is still possible (but very difficult) to trace the data connection to unveil information about the user. However, there is a supplement that minimizes these flaws in Tor. This supplement is called Tails and is an operating system that can work on any computer or laptop. This operation system can be stored on and booted from a DVD, USB-stick or SD-card. The tails operating system contains a tor-enabled browser and leaves no evidence behind as Tails does not make use of the computers harddisk. Tails makes use of the RAM-storage, which will automatically erase itself once the computer is shutting down.

      I have always been intrigued by the Dark-Web and I am definitely going to have a look (with my own Tails USB-stick ofcourse) in the near future!

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