noun: Deep Web
The part of the World Wide Web that is not discoverable by means of standard search engines, including password-protected or dynamic pages and encrypted networks.
“the biggest weakness of the Deep Web is also its greatest strength: it’s really hard to find anything”
As given in the definition above, the deep web is the part of the internet that is not discoverable by regular search engines. The pages are unlisted and or encrypted, specific data on the deep web is a needle in the haystack unless you know the exact place to find it. It is not monitored and is most of the internet.
Though the Dark web is infamous for its drugs and trafficking, the dark web is a small part of the Deep web. In itself the Deep web mainly consists of unlisted content, such as paying service details, members-only sites etc. They are things you wouldn’t be able to access without a passcode or a decryption method, or things just not simply listed and lost in the web of the internet.
But you don’t want to hear about that much do you?
Yes, I’ll tell you about the Dark web, but not what you might think.
Due to the anonymity of the Deep web, it is quite obvious that the Dark web does consist of illegal porn, drugs and illegal business fronts. However that same anonymity has been used for many less “evil” and somewhat controversial uses. Unlike murder and weapon smuggling, these are uses that you may or may not agree being ethical, but obviously can grant a healthy discussion on them.
(At least I hope so)
ESCAPTING SURVEILLANCE AND CENSORING.
Journalists have been known to use the deep web for researching and contacting informants without having to worry about the government or powerful corporations keeping an eye on them.
It allows a journalist to go through risky topics without having to be arrested or worse censored and or silenced, also since it’s the deep web, the journalist is likely get much more information on said risky topic.
One place where journalists contact on the deep web is a location on the deep web created by the German Privacy Foundation, called the Privacy box.
It is also used by whistle-blowers to send information without being identified. One famous such whistle blower is Edward Snowden. He had sent the documents surrounding the US surveillance on its people and other countries to journalists via the deep web.
The deep web has also allowed people under repressive regimes to connect to information hidden to them. For example any information related to Tibet cannot be accessed via the surface internet in China. A way to get around China’s firewall is hence the Deep web.
The famous deep web system TOR, was designed mainly to create to secure communications and escape censorship as a way to guarantee free speech. It helped the Arab Spring protests mobilise. It was not intended for uses the deep web has become infamous for.
Another use the deep web surfing is to access hidden scientific information. Many articles and studies are buried deep within the deep web due to not being listed for various reasons on the major search engines. The ability to access the deep web will give you access to a lot more information than the surface web, it is especially helpful for specific or targeted topics which is highly useful for scholars.
One such search engine designed to search such articles is WorldWideScience.org.
The site has various features such as finding information based on author, year published, basic keywords and also Boolean algorithms.
Of course governments use the deep web. It is anonymous and safer than any usual surface web method.
Hence they use the deep web to exchange documents secretly.
2016’s USA presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server would be considered a part of the deep web.
Though a safe haven for cyber criminals, the deep web is much more than that. It is an essential and important part of the internet, it may be understanding it exists is critical to understanding how the internet works.
The writer here would however tell you to be careful while trying to search the deep web, is it legal technically, but like any unmonitored terrain, the laws are complicated and the info and user is potentially unprotected.
One of the most famous analogies about the deep web would be by Michael K. Bergman, founder of BrightPlanet said how searching on the Internet can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean: a great deal may be caught in the net, but there is a wealth of information that is deep and therefore missed.
These have been many estimates of the size of the deep web, but so far it has been decided it is so large and is expanding at such a rate, that it cannot be measured.