Who Controls The Deep Web?

The deep web is a dark and mysterious place for the majority of internet users Hidden from the prying eyes of governments, companies and security agencies, a whole host of illicit activities can be found deep beneath the surface of conventional search engines

The deep web has developed a bad reputation, as a platform for drug marketplaces like Silk Road, explicit and illegal pornography, and even hit-men services But it might not be just criminals and people wanting privacy logging in The Government itself could be exploiting this system of anonymity – lurking in the shadows so it can monitor illicit activity and communicate in secret Anonymous communication across the Internet was the brainchild of the US

Navy in the 1990s The military hoped to create a platform for intelligence officers, foreign dissidents and police forces, so that they could communicate and conduct covert investigations on targets without the knowledge of others In 2004 the Navy cut its funding for the program and released the licensing into the general domain The anonymous communication service rolled out to the public was a router called ‘Tor’ This private browser uses volunteer computers to bounce signals around the globe, disguising the IP address of a computer so it supposedly can’t be traced

However, investigative journalist Yasha Levine believes the government’s involvement in the program didn’t end in 2004 It’s claimed that everybody involved in developing Tor technology “has been, or is still funded by the Pentagon or related arm of the US Empire” The two major developers of Tor, Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson were contracted by the Defences Advanced Research Projects Agency, an advanced researcher for the Department of Defence The government is still funding the Tor program and in 2013, donated $18 million to the anonymous program

Why would the Government continue to support a program that is notoriously used by criminals, pedophiles and terrorists? The official story is that the Government funds the deep web because it enables freedom of speech The Tor system can bypass censorship in countries that restrict media, such as in China America advocates the use of this technology because it can circumvent the Great Firewall and allow citizens to access sites like world news and Facebook The vast size of the deep web is also beneficial to the US Government At 500 times the size of the surface web, it’s a great place to hide vast databases

But there is evidence to suggest that there are ulterior motives behind the government’s involvement in the deep web The deep web may be a win-win situation for the government, where it gets anonymous communications betweenr its own assets, whilst the National Security Agency tracks those who are using the system for illegal means Yasha Levine states the government may have deliberately designed the deep web for the public This is because, according to Levine, if the system were used solely by military and intelligence services, then every time digital signals were intercepted by outside sources, they could instantly recognize where these confidential communication lines were coming from In order to disguise secret Government information, the best way would be to hide it amongst thousands of public signals, blending them in with the general population

On top of that, the NSA is then able to track the public’s usage of the service, whilst providing a web service that merely gives the illusion of anonymity In July 2014 German TV channel Das Erste claimed that if you merely search for Tor, the NSA marks and tracks your IP address The NSA tracks you by following your digital ‘fingerprints’, which Edward Snowden described as tagging individuals or groups The NSA is then able to store and see all of a user’s Internet usage It’s even claimed that the NSA owns some of the volunteer servers that Tor uses to bounce the signals, which means the Government can directly tap into the system

According to Gwern Branwen, this has already resulted in the arrests of over 300 people affiliated with the dark web since 2011 – and these are just the cases reported by popular deep websites The Guardian newspaper has also reported that it was in fact the NSA that helped the CIA track down four drug distributors in the UK, who were associated with Silk Road So it may indeed be the case that the NSA is monitoring the deep web, while government agencies and the military hide in plain site

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