We have already looked at the Tor Project, the Dark Net and Silk Road from a variety of angles. However, we have yet to take a look at the good sites of the Dark Web. Even though many make it out as a criminal paradise, it does not contain nearly as much illegal content as many believe and mostly even adheres to a moral code of its own, especially regarding child pornography.
Dark Net: Tor against Child Pornography
The aims of some sites like the Silk Road can occasionally read like political manifestos. After all, the self-proclaimed intention of the site was to be a zone where people could be without being patronized by anyone. That does not mean they didn’t have principles though.
Silk Road, for example, prohibited anything that would harm another being and said it would make the drug trade safer by moving the transactions from dark alleyways to the Dark Net. This meant users were able to rate the sellers and could make informed decisions on what to buy where. They had a community to exchange information, to help, and to inform on what they were putting in their bodies. Given the theory that drug use is nothing we can ever eradicate, this would be the theoretically safest option to exchange narcotics, which is not to say that money didn’t play a role in it as well.
One thing most of the Dark Net agrees upon, however, is the case of child pornography. Child pornography is undoubtedly a part of the Dark Web. Many sites already carry distinct messages which read “Tor against CP”, encouraging the community to not tolerate sites and user spreading pornographic material of underage people in any form and to report the behavior accordingly.
Looking Past Child Pornography on the Dark Web
Apart from pornography and violence, there is a vast number of services that are criminal or at least claim to be. For example, there are sites on the Dark Net offering hitman services, however, there has not been a single proven case of a hit ordered through the Dark Web. Those sites are either scams to trick people into paying money or maybe even government officials looking for an easy bust.
Leaving child pornography and criminal ventures behind, there is an incredible amount of diverse communities scattered all around the Dark Net that do not offer anything illegal. From specific interests to book clubs, anything one could want is very likely to have a representation on the Dark Web in all anonymity. Criminal activity may be present in the Dark Net, but as it isn’t as interconnected and indexed as the normal internet, one will not just stumble upon these things except one actively searches for it. And that is another thing most people are not aware of. People seem to think that the sole access of the Dark Web through a Tor Browser might be illegal and that one would get exposed to an overload of illegal content by simply opening it.
Dark Web: Why the Negative Press?
It is safe to assume that the Dark Net is not any more dangerous than the normal internet or our physical world. If you are out to find brutal and illegal content, there is a high chance finding it outside of the Dark Web if you just search hard enough. The internet as a whole, including the Dark Net, mirrors the physical world. There are a lot of good and some quite bad people around. It’s something that cannot be avoided.
What is saddening though is the media coverage of the topic itself, which is filled with plenty of misinformation and misconceptions. Some of this by people that have never even visited this corner of the internet, basing their output on stories they’ve heard and retold without any fact-checking. Governments and law enforcement condemning it have mostly two backgrounds. The trivial reason of obviously condemning criminal behavior and the more sinister reason of maybe losing control of a population that mostly has come to terms with being spied on regularly.
The Tor Browser, however it may be used, is a possibility for everyone to regain their freedom on the internet. A freedom undisputed in our physical world, yet forgotten as soon as we log onto the internet. A behavior governments and corporations would obviously like to keep alive and well fed by gladly exaggerating and spreading misconceptions about a deep, dark and scary web, that can only cater to criminal needs and nothing else.
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