Surprisingly there are some things that Google can’t reach, like the “Deep Web” - a seething matrix of encrypted websites, sometimes known as Tor, that allows users to surf beneath the everyday internet with complete anonymity.
Tor, short for “The Onion Router”, was originally designed and implemented by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. It consists of complex layers of encryption that allow users to use the internet without leaving a trace.
By anonymity, I mean pseudonyms that have no link to a viable IP address. An IP address enables internet activity to be traced back to an individual computer. The Tor network conceals the IP address and the online activities of the respective user.
The “Deep Web” has existed for more than a decade and has been utilized by governmental agencies, individuals and industries.
Journalists in oppressive countries who could face jail time or death, because of their reporting, need a way to deliver the news and remain confidential.
Law enforcement and military agencies use Tor to allow online surv
eillances and undercover operations to remain concealed, since their IP addresses cannot be traced or associated to a governmental agency.
Even normal, everyday internet users, concerned with privacy, such as targeted advertising (looking at a product for sale, and then seeing it in ad space in the future sites that you look at) use Tor.
The Deep Web came under the spotlight in January 2014 after the police shutdown of the “Silk Road” website; essentially an online marketplace dubbed the 'Amazon of drugs’ and arrested its creator, Ross Ulbricht.
Just because “Silk Road” has been taken down, this has done next to nothing to quell the rising tide of such illicit online exchanges, which are already jostling to fill the gap now left in this unregulated virtual world.
It’s not just drugs. It’s best to think of these sites as bazars for illegal activity. You might be able to hire “hit men” or prostitutes, you can purchase guns, instructions on how to hack ATMs or how to build bombs.
Don’t expect to use your PayPal account here, these transactions are made using Bitcoin, in short, a crypto-currency that is not associated to any government regulated banks.
Soon enough, the days of the common street drug dealer will be over. Not because the war on drugs has been won, but because the battlefield will have drastically changed.