Why The Internet is a Lawless Land
Forewarning and full disclosure before I begin my piece. For the purposes of this article I will be attempting to explain why regulating the internet is not truly possible. I will not be discussing whether or not there should be regulations or what kinds of behavior needs to be restricted. This article is meant to be informative and not political. Additionally, this is a follow up to last weeks piece by me and I would recommend reading that first. It can be found here.
So the internet isn’t really able to regulated. Whether it’s impossibility of keeping things dead, the problems with the Streisand Effect, or just the technical limitations of committing such an action, it’s just not feasible. How far does this rabbit hole go though? Well, I am here to spread the unfortunate news of saying it goes much further. This week, I’m going to talk a bit about what you might have heard referred to as, the DarkNet.
So first off, what is the Dark Net? Well, I suppose it easier to explain it by explaining the differences between the “Clearnet”, “Deep Web”, and the “Dark Net/Web”. So what we call the Clearnet is actually what most people know as the internet. This is where your Google, Netflix, Youtube, Twitter, and yes even 4Chan all reside. All of these sites are easily searchable and indexable. This means that when you go looking for them, they’re right there at your fingertips. These sites are the ones everyone knows about. This is like hopping in your car and getting your GPS to direct you to Pizza Hut.
So what is the “Deep Web” then? It must be where all those pesky bad actors and bad guys are hiding right? The answer is, well, kind of. You see, when you connect to the internet and connect to websites, you’re usually using the name of the site e.g. Google. But what your computer does is that it translates that name into an address for you to connect to. It would look something like this, “192.168.0.1”. So if you go typing in the exact address for a site instead of looking it up by name, then you can very easily access sites that you wouldn’t normally be able to find. These sites generally don’t really have proper names. You might hear about some of them on the ClearNet or through some other word of mouth but these sites are still very easily accessible without any additional tools. This, my dear readers, is the where the “Deep Web”
resides. It’s a place that is still very easily accessible on the internet, but you have to know where you’re going. Think of it like this; instead of asking your GPS for directions to Pizza Hut, you’re just hopping in the car and driving to the Pizza Hut you already know exists.
Finally, we get to what is called the Dark Side of the internet. These are websites hidden behind special web browsers that will reject normal web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. These are the sites you should be most afraid of because these are the sites that hold the most illegal behaviors. Because they are designed from beginning to end to be all about anonymity these sites have absolutely no regards for the laws of any nation.
CONTENT WARNING: THE REMAINDER OF THIS PARAGRAPH WILL DISCUSS SOME OF THE THINGS FOUND IN THESE SITES! IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO READ IT, THEN SKIP DOWN TO THE PICTURE OF A PUPPY!
Now that I’ve given you sufficient warning, I will not mince my words. Sites on the Dark Web include places like The Human Experiment (which talks about performing incredibly disturbing “research” on live human beings for no other reason than “being inferior”), The Silk Road and Black Market Reloaded (which is a massive drug trafficking site that is effectively an amazon for anything you could imagine buying such as guns, poisons, illicit drugs, etc.), places where you can buy products made from the skin of humans aka Human leather, forums about Cannibalism and how to properly cook and eat human beings, and of course, sites endorsing animal abuse.
Unfortunately, there is no means of shutting these sites down. To be exact, many world superpowers can barely keep track with Clearnet sites like The Pirate Bay. This all goes back to the simple fact of being that the internet is, at the basic level, peer to peer connections. Not to mention that the more illegal you go on the internet, the closer you get to that peer to peer level. It is for this reason that catching these sites is impossible. Not just the people hosting them, but the people who frequent these sites are all protecting their existence, right or wrong.
At the end of the day, the internet is a lot like meeting and talking to someone in person. If neither person is willing to disclose what was talked about, what they saw, or anything, then there is no feasible way for the government to find out. Thanks to this, the internet truly is a lawless land. I’ll be back next week with a different topic and something that will hopefully be a lot lighter in mood.