Deep down the conscience of the Hidden Web.

January 4, 2013 6:10 pm

The Hidden Web, also know as Deep Web, is a part of the World Wide Web that isn’t accessible alongside sites like Google, Yahoo or Facebook. It exists below the surface of the Internet we access daily and the reality is darker, more dangerous and more depraved than you can begin to imagine.

The way to describe the Hidden Web is to think of it like an office building where you have offices with sunlight bursting through the windows; filled with life and hope – hope that deadlines will be met; lunch will be decent, home time comes quickly, money will be made and families are kept safe. But below the office lies a basement that sucks out all that light and hope running for miles connecting to other basements belonging to other office buildings; basements which haven’t seen a lick of paint since installation – rows upon rows of filing cabinets filled with old documents and databases of days gone by; more filing cabinets than you’d find above ground, leaking pipes, rats – the offscourings of society. Only a certain type of person would be willing to go deep into the basement because the loneliness would choke a man before the lack of oxygen would.

The Hidden Web is considered to be vaster than the surface Web which is alarming in itself when you consider how big the surface internet is – just how many members does Facebook have again? It is much more primitive, like the layout of geocites and uses .onion rather than commonly used domains like .co.uk. The Hidden Web is also considered more dangerous. The Hidden Web is a part of the internet where you can buy drugs from Silk Road and weapons from The Armoury. A place to look for leaked documents and conspiracy theories. In fact, it has been claimed that all Wikileaks did was take documents available on the Hidden Web and make them mainstream. It is the place where things like human trafficking are manoeuvred and planned and where, if it’s your type of thing you can arrange to be eaten by those who find human meat more challenging than chicken. Hire a contractor to dispose of a business partner if you like. The Human Experiment documents the operations of three Warehouses somewhere in the world that houses homeless and unregistered citizens of all ages and genders that are subjected to various experiments – there is a fourth Warehouse but there is no information regarding the occupants of “Warehouse Four”.  Of course, none of this is funny and I only make light of the subject because I feel if I don’t the despair rising out of what goes on down there would consume me absolutely.

wikileaks

Getting into the Hidden Web is simple using a Tor browser which allows you to browse the Hidden Web anonymously hiding the content you view but also cloaking your IP address which is vital because if your webcam light is on and you’re not skyping your Mother you can be sure someone is watching you (so cover that up). This anonymity allows for uncensored use of the internet which is why requests for indecent images of children and animals are regularly requested. Whilst most will be successful in accessing it there is an increasing number of people who will berate those for asking for such images and they will usually get kicked and barred from websites. There is no place in society for that sort of content even in the Hidden Web. Manoeuvring the Hidden Web is tricky and relies on knowing what links are available. The explorers of the Hidden Web have created a series of files and messageboards to keep users up to date with ways and means of communicating – there is a version of Twitter and even Torbook (yes, you guessed it!)

I have known about the Hidden Web for over a year and used it a couple of times mostly just to tell a story to incredulous friends but deciding to write something down about it I had to see how deep I could get. Within a couple of hours of surfing the Torbook I had stumbled upon a user who could “get you in contact with international suppliers of almost any illegal good/item/service”. When I emailed someone who had posted in the group he responded the next day offering to sell me “perhaps a kidney, a bit of liver or bone marrow”. Later he would admit he knew of certain people who would, having done it before, kill for the right price and that his primary reason for browsing the Hidden Web was to find an organ broker or a loanshark.

anonymous

The Hidden Web helps the anonymous

One user claimed to be able to deliver any gun and/or weapon anywhere in the world. I emailed him asking where he sourced his weapons from and how difficult it would be to import into the United Kingdom. He emailed me back pretty quickly stating he “worked closely with the Military in Wainwright” (which after a Google search turned out to be Fort Wainwright Military Base in Arkansas, USA). After suggesting I’d want something “small” he emailed me back with the suggestion of a “glock compact” which would take 1-2 days given that he had a source in the UK. I still don’t know what a gloc looks like and I haven’t emailed him back.

The Hidden Web has opened my eyes to unspeakable things that exist in this world. I had always assumed you could do and buy anything on the internet but I was certain this was limited by the constant supervision of our internet waves by those who provide it. The Hidden Web is for those who want to exist anonymously either innocently or for other depraved reason; in the Hidden Web the line is a very fine one. Click on the wrong thing and it may open you up to thoughts you’d never dream of. I browse the Hidden Web in waves that last for a couple of days. Then I won’t touch it again unless a friend suggests it as something to do at a house party because one thing is certain: the Hidden Web is sort of thrilling. Exploring the deep underground of the Internet or being party to a secret only a select few know is a little exhilarating. Safe with the knowledge that when you’ve had enough, and you feel you’ve gotten in over your head, you call it a day and remove the Tor software and vow never to explore it again. But you do because there is something about going to the darkest depths and bringing back secrets; it’s a pull much like the one that pulls us to watch a car crash.

Do I feel better for knowing the full extent of humanity? Not at all. The evidence of just how low people are willing to sink is there so I’m no longer naïve that’s for sure. Though I wish I was. I wish so desperately that all I knew of the internet was how addictive Facebook is. But there is so much more to it and I don’t think I will ever get over the shock of knowing what people are truly capable of. My only hope now is that the good people are capable of overrides the bad.

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