Dedication for this write goes to NEWSREP Sister Micky “Mic-Mac” Mitchell
“And that, my friends, is just the tip of the iceberg… just the tip, you see, because we all know damn-well that the greatest mass of an iceberg is that portion residing under the surface of the sea… that mass that we cannot see!”
“Just the tip of the iceberg.”
That’s a worn out metaphor that I didn’t like even the first time I heard it, the last time, or all the times in-between. Or is it a cliché? I think it rather a metaphor that has become distinctly cliché. But may lightning strike me dead if it really is not just the best way to proportion the combination of the “visible” and “invisible” Internet as it exists today.
Stop! Collaborate and listen…
The visible Internet, or the tip of the iceberg, is the Internet as we all know it: searches from google.com, yahoo.com, gmail.com… THE INTERNET! If your favorite Internet search engine — like google.com, or whatever — can search it out and find it, it belongs to the tip of the Internet iceberg.
What about the rest of it? What about the mass of the Internet that Google can’t search/index? That is the portion of the iceberg that sinks below the surface of the sea; that dwarfing mass of internet that we don’t see or commonly use.
“It’s a den of iniquity, I tells ya; you’ve got one foot in the grave and the other in the state penitentiary if your dabbling in the dark!”
I was on a bus the other day, had my laptop open on my… lap… drag-netting the dark web. A priest sitting next to me looks at my screen and says: “My son, you’re headed down the rocky road to perdition!” I looked back at him and moaned: “Son-of-a-bitch. I KNEW I was on the wrong bus!”
I jest, but the tension behind the dark web needs to slacken up a tensile ounce or two. My intent is to do that with a modicum of ground truth about the dark beast, if all you know about it are the rumors you hear about pedophile porno and the illegal sale of weapons, drugs, radioactive poisons and the like.
I was once like you; I was lost, but now I’m found. Nobody found me or showed me the way. I went out on my own and found out about the dark web myself. I sat down alone in a room in front of my computer until either I satisfied my curiosity about the dark web, or the Orwellian Thought Police smashed down my apartment door.
Hours later I pushed back from my desk, rose up, and threw open my apartment door, which was still fully intact. The sun beat down on my tired face. My… but it felt so good. How many hours had it been? The candle on the table next to my computer had long since reduced itself to a wax pool around its holder. I recall faintly when it snuffed, though I marked not the hour or minute.
I had made it in and back out again and I can convey several things to you. First of all, I hope you never get wrapped around the elitist snobbery of the techno purists who insist that there is a dark web, and then there is a deep web. The latter being password protected accounts and the like that certainly Internet search engines (like Google) cannot index. Dark web, deep web… too many shades of gray, man. It’s all still the part that’s under the sea, get it?
By “index” I do mean “to search for and find.” It only stands to reason that a person cannot, for example wonder: “Hmmm… I wonder if I can find that jerk John Doe’s online bank account,” and type in your browser “John Doe’s bank account” and hope to actually get there. Best of luck with that.
I made it to the dark (deep?) web and back again… and I saw: pedophile porno and the illegal sale of weapons, drugs, radioactive poisons and the like. Yep, it was all there, every last bit of it, but (and this is a really big but) it was all on sites that required that you take out an account with the site. That incidentally meant paying for a subscription.
That’s where the delineation lay for me. I didn’t need to buy an anti-tank rocket just to prove I could buy one. Those things were over there behind an account, and I was over here looking at them over there. When I come to terms with my existential self I am suddenly soundly aware that I don’t actually really need an anti-tank rocket, not even in the least.
Ah, and the experience helped me sort another mystery I had about cryptocurrency. In my quest to understand the operations of Bitcoin I set out to own one, setting the cap of my purchase at $25.00. But (and this is a huge but) with the spending of my $25.00 I received only $7.00 worth of Bitcoin. That return on investment stinks, and why all the rage to go out and own any Bitcoin, I implore you?
The answer is anonymity, with a capital A and that rhymes with K and that stands for… kool! Anonymity is a key feature of Bitcoin, and that is all the rage of the dark web… at least in our country. Total anonymity or near-total anonymity is what people crave so dearly and why they buy Bitcoin and go onto the dark web. There are secrets to be kept there on the dark web, sort of like some folks go to Las Vegas, NV, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Folks want secrets, have their secrets and love their secrets. Whatever you want, you can likely find it on the dark web… then you can purchase that secret on the dark web with some Bitcoin — and do it all with a decent profile of anonymity. Folks go to the dark web with Bitcoin to satisfy the needs they have that they are too embarrassed to admit they simply must have. Ain’t that America? Ain’t it? Are we the only country that looks at a sheet and only sees a ghost?
Many other countries, and even some Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the US block — or attempt to block — access to the dark web. My ISP does not, so it was all the more easy to get up and running on the dark web relatively quickly. Where access is blocked, there are provisions in place that help bypass the blocking mechanisms.
Consider this if you dare: several other countries strongly feel that the dark web is a God-send, a safe haven… a place where they can go to be essentially free in what they think and how they feel, and to be able to communicate it all to other like-minded people in relative safety. These people are typically in countries where there is notable oppression from their national governance. OK, I could use North Korea as an empty suit example of one of those countries, but they don’t even have the Internet to begin with, so…
Part of my original intent with this write was to include essential instructions to path you to the dark web, so you don’t have to figure it out from scratch, as I did. That was my intent, but… I chickened out, lest I ignite too many knife fights in the post-write forum. But I will venture to you that it is very likely much easier and safer than you might think to path yourself to the dark web. My suggestion to you would be to at a minimum ask yourself why you want to go there at all, and understand your answer before you begin.
My answer to myself is positionally clear: I work with a counter human trafficking task force. The hunt is truly a quintessential cat-and-mouse game; one time us, one time them. It’s a hunt that is all about having the upper hand. He who holds the upper hand at any one time has won the day. If I won it today, the traffickers will win it tomorrow… and so it will go.
It has been a distinct technological trend that the bulk of the organized human trafficking network efforts have headed underground… or rather, under the sea to the dark web for anonymity and security. Yeah, it’s really looking like that is where the Universal Scourge is headed all right, and I plan to already be there when it arrives.
By Almighty God and with honor,
Graphic in this essay courtesy of Wikipedia Commons