Is the Darknet legal or illegal to use?

By | March 10, 2021

Is Dark Web Illegal?

The dark web, also known as the deep web, is a section of the internet that cannot be accessed through traditional search engines like Google. It requires special browsers to access and these include Tor, I2P, and Freenet. The dark web allows users to visit websites anonymously which can be useful for political activists who want to share information in secret. These dark sites aren’t always illegal. They’re often used by people who want to maintain privacy, like whistleblowers, journalists, and bloggers. But there are also sites on the dark web that sell drugs, weapons, and other things that can be illegal to sell.

  What defines a dark site? Are there any other kinds of sites you can find on the dark web? Why do we call it the dark web? How is the dark web different from the regular web? Let’s find out!

What is the Dark Web?

The dark web has been riddled with controversy and mystery ever since it first began gaining prominence in 2011. This controversial subject has been a trending topic ever since the FBI shut down the Silk Road, a major darknet marketplace for illegal drugs and services, following the arrest of its founder, Ross William Ulbricht.

The dark web is a part of the internet that is not indexed by search engines and is only accessible through a specialized web browser, such as Tor (The Onion Router). It is often used to access content that is not possible to access outside of anonymous networks. The dark web is also commonly used to keep internet activity anonymous and private. This is because the collection of data, including user IP addresses and locations, is not accessible to search engines or other third-party apps. However, this also makes it difficult for law enforcement to track down criminals because there are few to no methods for doing so.

This is why people commonly think this is the domain of criminals and scammers because they use it to buy drugs, obtain firearms illegally and share indecent images including child abuse imagery and pornography involving adults and children.

Is the Dark web easy to access?

The dark web is accessible only through the Tor browser and is part of the Tor ecosystem. But what does Tor do? Basically, Tor is an acronym for “Onion Router”. Using a global network of servers, this free, open-source software ensures your online anonymity.

With Tor, your data is encrypted multiple times before being routed through a series of random servers called ‘nodes’ before it’s transmitted.

In order to interpret each layer of your data, each node decrypts it one layer at a time before sending you to your intended dark web destination. The name ‘the onion router’ comes from this process of ‘peeling off’ the individual layers of encryption, like peeling off layers of an onion.

The data is encrypted every step of the way so that each node in the chain knows where your data originated from and where it should be sent next. And that’s about it. As a result, tracking your dark web activity from start to finish is almost impossible.  

Tor’s encryption system makes sure that not only are your activities anonymous, but also the websites on which you are hosting them are hidden.

As you can imagine, criminals would find this to be a very appealing environment. Nonetheless, You should also remember that Tor can also be used for legitimate purposes like exploring the dark web.

Is the dark web easy to access

Is the Dark Web really “Dark”?

The appearance of dark websites is pretty normal from the outside. As well as text and images, they contain clickable content and navigation buttons. They differ in other ways, however.

The naming structure

On dark websites, you will find the URL ends in .onion instead of .com or .co, etc.

Extremely complex URLs

In addition to this, the character sequence before .onion in the URL appears strange. Moreover, the URL is very hard to memorize. SecureDrop, for instance, allows anonymous tips to be sent to news organizations via the dark web. 

A constant change of addresses

Although the dark web is meant to be hidden from the surface web, finding it is often more difficult. Many dark sites maintain multiple URLs to make privacy a priority.

Why do people use the ‘Dark Web’?

The ‘Dark Web’ is used for three main reasons:

1. Providing anonymity

Online identity protection may be necessary for a variety of reasons.  This may be because their identity may be at risk – such as in countries where censorship or a free press are forbidden.

People who have been cyberstalked or are worried about online security may also use it to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Most of Tor’s traffic is devoted to anonymous browsing of the open web; hidden services (below) account for a very small percentage.

2. Uncovering ‘hidden services’

Hidden Services, or onion services, (also known as onion services) are ones that, when using Tor, make both the user and the website anonymously. Therefore, it is impossible to determine the IP address of the site, which makes determining its host, location, or content impossible. Many hidden services have domain names ending with .onion, thus the term “onion addresses.”.

Hidden Services are Tor-hosted sites. Hidden Services may be used to disclose sensitive information without fear of reprisal, for example, information about crimes. In general, however, Hidden Services are perceived to contain illicit material. Most of these sites require membership (usernames, passwords, etc. ), and some have ‘VIP’ sections that can only be accessed by invitation from the administrators or by applying for membership and receiving approval from them.

3. Criminal activity.

Criminals may use Dark Web to sell weapons and drugs online, among other illegal activities.  The websites that provide these kinds of services are sometimes called Hidden Services. 

Is the Dark Web legal?

While it is not illegal in itself, accessing and using the dark web for illegal purposes is punishable by law. For example, it’s against the law to visit a website that hosts files like copyrighted content or documents that are private when you are not permitted to, download online material without paying for it, or sell prohibited items such as weapons or drugs over the dark web. If you happen to break any rules stated above you may be subject to punishment.

Is the dark web legal

Should you be using the Dark Web?

In many ways, there are risks to using the ‘Dark Web’ that are very similar to what you may encounter on the ‘Open Web’. For example, while anyone can stumble upon questionable material on the open web, the dark web serves as a haven for those looking to view or distribute illegal content (e.g., terrorism, child pornography). Said content is not only loosely moderated but also very hard for law enforcement and watchdog groups to monitor due to its highly anonymous nature. Both environments allow young people to expose themselves to things that they probably shouldn’t, such as pornography and online solicitation.

Like the ‘Open Web’, more young people are exploited over the internet by pedophiles than ever before. This can mean anything from being exposed to violent forms of pornography or chat rooms where they can be bought and sold like slaves. The majority of those who do this happen to prey upon children by means of communication online rather than ever, having any intentions of carrying out physical abuse. While both parts may serve as equally controversial media, it’s important to remember in your journey through technology that going into areas that aren’t suitable for a young person is something you keep at an absolute minimum.