Updated: Oct 25, 2019
DARK WEB: A NEW FRONTIER
"Dark Web" , when this word comes up in a conversation it is highly likely we hear things like it's a service that offers illegal products or it's a playground for the demented. But just try to overlook the negative side of it and imagine the time when Internet started as a means of communication for the American Militia known as ARPANET project then the time changed and just look at it now. Just how far we have come! Almost everyone we see is connected. For a moment try to remember the revolutions it went through like the introduction of Work Wide Web by Tim Berners.
Right now, even as I am writing it's going through a revolution in the form of many encryption technologies that are being worked up for an anonymous transaction for satisfying the vices of some demented soul in the dark web. Dark web is that portion of web which cannot be accessed using simple browsers, it uses a browser or should I say an encrypted network known as TOR it is a highly complicated network which hides your identity on the web from government, hackers, crackers, etc. Fun fact this was a project developed for the US Navy for communication, now it's an open source software. So coming back to the topic, what's the new perspective here? One can access dark web using TOR browser. The services offered by the illegal website let's say for example silk road 3.0 is usually supplying buyers with credit card information, books, high grade narcotics etc. It's highly appreciative of the fact that in spite of the numerous attempts made by the authorities the site is still up and running. If you read the comment section it's highly likely you are going to address some of the honest reviews of the product there's a button for even reporting the product and if you email them using the email services offered you'll get an instant and polite reply. It is so organized! You have to visit it in order to experience I wouldn't recommend that. Customer is the real king, like literally!
The question is hard-hitting, how it still operates? The simple answer is because they adapt to every downer and become better. It is estimated that Ross 'dread pirate' William owner of the website silk road 2.0 before authorities busted him made a profit of $1.2 billion. Let's look at the payment desk, it only accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoins, ethereum, litecoins etc in order to make a completely anonymous transaction they also use escrow, first the buyer transfers the coins to a third party once the coin reaches the third party the product is immediately disbursed to the intended consumer of the product then both the third party and the seller authenticate the transaction with their digital signatures. As each transaction gets recorded in a public ledger so in order to again remain a complete ghost what they did, they created a uniform wallet platform known as Bitcoin fog in which a consumer buying the product can submit the coin and ledger entry will be there but it cannot be traced as it is literally the Tumblr for Bitcoin, so many users it is very hard to trace and then it can be transferred to the escrow account. Don't you think this method is very secure, so secure that even the authorities couldn't trace. This is the level of privacy that we strive to achieve.
Think for a moment, take out all your negative thoughts about the dark web, just admire the systems in place. Which embarks upon the notion of privacy which we strive for. We know the process has its advantages and disadvantages. This level of privacy is a thorn in the eyes of big brother but big brother fails to realize how potent this technological advancement is. It paves the way for a plethora of opportunities. What if we can take all the positive aspects and implement it. Monitoring of such transaction will be difficult but it's high time for the big brother to innovate instead of banning the procedure it can be regulated. I'm not saying that dark web should be regularized, I'm just saying that the process used should be regularized. Why is it always when we talk about dark web we get terrified on the contrary it intrigued me that such a plethora of illegal websites remain anonymous and untraceable from the eyes of the authorities for so long. It's obvious they are innovating on a daily basis. It's the sole duty of big brother to innovate. They should not despise the procedures followed in the dark web but instead they should be motivated to tackle the issues head-on with a much more creative way. Till we despise our enemies and ignore their methods there will be no innovation. As for the revolution I am talking about it is knocking on the doorsteps presenting various opportunities and we are afraid to take a leap of faith. Authorities are blinded by the notion that they can stop it by banning things like Cryptocurrencies, trust me it is only going to motivate the perpetrator to be better than the authorities. Negative motivation does work it is proven if we closely analyse any payment gateway on the dark web. It improves with the demand and pressure.
We are on the verge of creating a decentralized internet that will render services like Amazon cloud services, Dropbox, Azure, Skynet useless. A world where the privacy of the user is at its pinnacle. Think about it, this revolution is going to change the way we perceive things especially encryption technologies. The world is evolving and it's time for the big brother to evolve to.
Prajanya Raj Rathore,
4th year, B.B.A.LL.B.,
Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad
(Image used for representational purpose only. Image Credit: https://www.wired.com/2014/11/hacker-lexicon-whats-dark-web/ )