The Depth of the Deep Web

Layton Feast 11.21.2018
This is an example of how the deep web is accessed (Photo: Wikimedia).

You've probably heard little bits and pieces of information about the deep web or what is sometimes called the dark web or the onion web. But you might not know that the deep web is 99% of the internet and only 1% is part of the surface web. The surface web is considered any website you can visit via basic search engines like google or safari. There are about 4.5 billion websites on the surface web. Which means there are billions of other websites past the surface on the deep web and the total number is unknown.

So what is the deep web exactly and what kinds of things can you find on it? The deep web is the completely anonymous side of the web that can only be accessed through special browsers and operators or with special links usually only obtained through visiting the deep web, essentially it's a hub for crime, strange videos, anonymous chat rooms, hackers and lots of shady activity. It is Not always used for criminal activity but that is a major use for it. Sometimes you just find old documents, random blogs, empty files, whistleblowers and background websites to large surface websites like what goes on behind the scenes. Though accessing the deep web is not too hard it just requires you to download the Tor web browser and go to the Secret wiki which will give you a list of basic deep websites you can visit, but to really do anything or get further than that you need to be tech savvy and have special operating systems.

You might be asking, Why would the government allow the deep web to exist if so much crime is happening on it? The Tor browser (the main way to reach the deep web) was created by mathematician Paul Syverson and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag who all worked for the US military. The reason it was made was so the military could share information anonymously. The reason they made the program public is because if someone sees a user using tor then they would know it is the military, but by making it public it would add a variety of users making it impossible to tell if a user is part of the military.

While the military does regret making the Tor public it is necessary and they can’t take down the deep web because it would get rid of much needed whistleblowers and journalists who wish/need to keep their identity a secret. So the only real way to combat the illegal websites of the deep web are to shut them down.

The problem with this is that after shutting them down many of the sites come back with a different I.P. several hours later. For example an infamous site called The Silk Road which was basically a version of Ebay for illegal narcotics and guns was shut down in October 2013 along with a number of other sites and later that same month the Silk Road v2 started up which was taken down in November of 2014 until later that month the Silk Road v3 started up. The only reason the Silk Road v3 went away was because of a lack of funding.

In conclusion the deep web is a dark and scary place filled with crime but it is also a necessary part of the internet and cannot be shutdown without some Major drawbacks to how the internet works, it would also receive major backlash by people who don't want the government or others viewing their web activities.

Though it is a crucial part of the web, after my research on the topic, I do not recommend visiting the deep web because it could potentially be dangerous and I have created this story to start a conversation about the government's ability to view people's personal activities on the web. If you wish to be private on the web you can use the Tor browser because it is easily downloadable and it is not only used to access the deep web, but to keep web activity private and it also makes traveling the web safer (as long as you don't attempt or travel the deep web when you don't know what your doing).