The Darknet. Just saying those words sends chills down some people’s spines. Others, it piques interest or inspires a smile. Like any new technology, people have misconceptions about what the Darknet is. The Darknet or Dark Web is an all-encompassing buzzword created to describe the “World Wide Wild West Web”. Most people who are skeptical of the Darknet and TOR browsers have heard of the black market website the Silk Road, where users had access to a myriad of illegal products and services before it was shut down. More recently the Dark Web has been involved in a number of page one controversies resulting in its anonymity being called into question on more than one occasion.
Break it Down – What Really is the Darknet?
The truth is, illegal activity, surveillance and lack of privacy is everywhere on the internet, not just hiding in the obscure and highly techy dark corners. The bottom line is that the Dark Web has the potential to provide excellent benefits above and beyond the encryption and anonymity it provides. Both of which are always attractive to those of us who are advocates of internet freedom and online privacy.
Put simply, the Darknet is between 5,000 – 30,000 encrypted sites worldwide that use a very sophisticated method of encryption. This method of encryption s supposed to make these sites virtually untraceable and incapable of being taken down by any means of cracking, 3rd party interference or government control.
So How Does One Access the Dark Web?
To begin to access the Darknet, you need to use an onion router, aka TOR. TOR allows users to browse the internet without giving away their IP address. As I am sure our readers know, every internet user has an IP address. TOR obscures that by encrypting your IP address and then routing your request to go to a website via several different computers that use the same software around the world. So, when your website request is coming from a different computer than your own each time.
The Darknet sounds terrifying and illegal. In reality, TOR/ Darknet / Dark Web users average around 3 million per day. Many of these users are engaging in activity that is perfectly legal and legitimate and are merely interested in TOR’s incredible benefits for privacy. This bears repeating. At face value, there is absolutely nothing wrong or illegal with the TOR browser. In fact, if a study gets conducted on the matter, we would most likely find much more criminal activity happening on browsers like Firefox or Chrome.
How is TOR/ Dark Web Able to Anonymize?
Darknet sites end in .onion and a string of random characters that randomize each time.
That is the genius of TOR. You can browse the web without anyone knowing where or who you are. But then, of course, this anonymity comes with a dark side. Of course, some people do bad stuff. Of course, Darknet marketplaces are selling illegal drugs and prostitution and other things that are difficult to censor.
What About Mainstream News Coverage on TOR/ Darknet?
As you can imagine, mainstream publications have been drooling over themselves for years to try and make sense of the Darknet and talk about how scary it is. Publications such as Rolling Stone, Wired Magazine and The Guardian and many more have covered TOR and the Darknet over the past few years. As one might have come to expect from mainstream publications, the majority of this type of coverage on revolves around fear mongering and scare tactics to make the Darknet seem like a terrifying digital underground filled with addicts, hoodlums, and sexual perverts. To be fair, though, Wired took an informed stance on the potential benefits of using TOR and the Darknet even back in 2013, calling the Internet a “hotbed of surveillance” and advocating for the legal use of the TOR browser and the Darknet. Wired has been a trustworthy source for news on internet freedom and were the first to report on the surveillance state implemented on the American people by the Patriot Act.
Wired took their level headed stance on the Darknet further by saying:
“Darknet, by itself, isn’t evil. All of us have, in a sense, something to hide online – like details of our humdrum, legal, everyday lives. It’s time to put the Darknet to good use.”
Check out the full article here: http://www.wired.com/2013/10/thompson/
What are Some Legal and Legitimate Reasons to Use TOR/ Darknet?
As advocates of internet freedom are aware, there are many good and legitimate reasons to remain hidden while accessing the internet: such as whistle-blowing sites, WikiLeaks cache, human rights activists sharing information etc.
As Wired Magazine alluded to back in 2013, the scary mystery of the Darknet might be changing and becoming mainstream as people become more and more concerned about their internet privacy. Users do trade convenience, ease of use and speed for safety and security when using the TOR browser compared to ordinary browsers. Chrome will get you there quicker, but TOR will make sure you are anonymous.
One of the main reasons to use the TOR browser is not to be followed by cookies and the constant barrage of ads, especially when accessing social media sites like Facebook. Accessing Facebook on the TOR browser means they don’t get all of that dreaded information on your profile that regular users give up willingly.
People sell a wide variety of legal (albeit tax-free) goods like music, artwork, poetry, manuscripts, digital equipment, etc. Some advocates of drug legalization say that the Dark Web allows users to buy safer illegal drugs with a more certain purity that they were going to buy off of the street. Whether that’s right or wrong, depends on your view of the world.
Let Us Be Very Clear…
LiquidVPN or anyone affiliated with the company would NEVER advocate for doing anything illegal in any country. The Darknet can change. More people can see how beneficial using the Darknet would be, with a vision of internet access that is free of government, corporate and 3rd party censorship. Be sure to use a 3rd party VPN like LiquidVPN when using the Dark Web.