Do you know that the Web does not just contain that we traditionally search through the crawlers? What does that mean? It means that whatever we put on the Internet does not necessarily require to be indexed. Surprised? An end-user who has got a fair idea how to browse for information is not familiar with the fact in general that there is way more to it what they can see.
Now the question arises why one wouldn’t want their web page to be shown to the public. The answer is quite obvious. They do not want to be ‘seen’ by the Law and Order OR the criminals, and that could be for good or even to carry extremely terrifying motto beyond one’s imagination. Moreover, the government itself wants to be kept hidden while scanning through numerous websites just to make sure that the security is never breached. But before knowing about the Dark Web, let’s first understand what is Deep Web as people often get confused between the two and cannot really tell the difference.
The term Deep Web implies that kind of information which is available and accessible but not indexed if one attempts to search through the regular search engines. This is done in order to maintain privacy. For instance, a closed group in Facebook which cannot be searched elsewhere but only after signing into it. It’s hard to believe that the information which can be searched publicly makeup only about 0.03%, the rest of all are practically un-indexed, which make around 500 to 600 times more!
It’s like a tip of the iceberg where most information is encapsulated beneath, and very few are actually searchable, known as the Surface Web. For instance, the Facebook login page is part of the Surface Web, yet we cannot see the account holders’ newsfeed which is, of course, part of the Deep Web. Nevertheless, the newsfeed can be seen once a person creates their account and somehow connects with that account holder either by being a follower or by adding them as their friend.
The Deep Web contains private data such as archives, passwords, academic information, scientific researches/reports, medical records, information about the military, and so on. While surfing for the Deep Web one can keep themselves as anonymous as their IP address cannot be traced. This is particularly important when the government itself wants to track the unauthorized activities, sites, and its users. For instance, the US government’s regular operations in the Middle East without revealing its own identity. Moreover, even the journalists and whistleblowers prevent themselves from getting caught through these techniques.
Additionally, when a website is under construction, the developers and the testers test it to make sure that it is working fine by identifying faults before someone else would. At this point, they don’t want it to get indexed and viewed by anybody which is why they make use of the Deep Web.
So, what’s exactly going on behind? When a user types keywords in the search bar of the crawlers, those set of words are known as the query which travels from the client computer to the router to the ISP and from there it reaches the website which is being requested. It is quite possible to encrypt the search query so that nothing is revealed since it reaches other nodes or other random computers instead of reaching directly to Google’s servers. After a few relays, it is finally decrypted and enters Google’s servers. But at this point, the information about the original source is lost. There are special browsers such as Tor (stands for The Onion Router) and Freenet which accomplish exactly that. They also prevent from detecting what activities are done on a particular website.
This is also useful in case someone wants to conduct interviews with those who reside in politically tormented geographical location(s) or war zones and getting detected would be literally risking their lives.
The Dark Web is the subset of the Deep Web, which usually involves extremely negative side. Even though the concept of Deep Web was first invented by the U.S. Navy, it obviously had a flip side, which is, it is much more widespread in the criminal world; since we all know that all kinds of inventions that are done for good also bring the drawbacks. Thus, given the name Dark Web. The Dark Web consists of all kinds of illegal activities beyond one’s imagination such as drug dealing, illegitimate weapons, human trafficking, child pornography/pedophilia images, money laundering, hacking, cannibalism, contract-based killing/hitmen, etc. There have also been rumors of the live streaming of butchering people upon request and payment whose existence was never proven.
In general, everyone has the right to privacy. This means that banning the entire thing would not resolve the issue but would make matters worse. Think about getting one’s pictures leaked via Facebook or Instagram just by typing words on some third-party search engines. The facts clearly signify that banning the Deep Web and Dark Web is out of the picture. The existence of predators of many forms is a depressing reality. The Law and Order can take measures to control such acts but it is quite difficult to make a complete stoppage.
One of the few successful attempts to catch the pedophiles was run by the FBI by creating a fake child pornography site (operation Playpen) so that they could track and catch the viewers. This was too executed with the help of the Dark Web itself. The government of the respective countries can implement such kinds of actions to have a firm control over the negatives so that the privacy is maintained as well as crimes could be prevented or at least minimized.