Into the deep web: the dangers of anonymity


Internet anonymity and privacy as we know, is a subject of controversy in today’s world of internet users.Privacy of oneself is very important out there in the dangerous, vast space of the internet. One can easily and more comfortably express your opinion and views only if no one knows about your identity or anything at all about you, especially the topic in question is too sensitive for certain group of people, race, religion or other classes. Furthermore, one should hide his or her personal information for obvious reasons, ranging from preventing harassment to burglaries at home.
There are currently over 2.5 billion internet users worldwide and millions of them are using the same few internet services and websites that put the users’ privacy at the mercy of a few powerful internet giants, subjected under their terms and agreements of usage. Of course, to keep in the best interests of their customers they assure us that our privacy is safe and they do not collect information that can potentially harm its users. There are even very effective laws against collecting data about online users.
But is being anonymous safe for the society?
There are countless criminal activities that are run and organized online, and most dangerously, some of them cannot be tracked by authorities.
The deep web or “hidden internet” is where things that are normally counted as illegal (sometimes even worse than illegal, if there is such a thing)take place. The deep web is a part of the internet that only certain people with specific interests can access, and estimated that it is about 100 to 500 times larger in terms of data compared to the “surface internet” – or the services we normally use such as YouTube and Facebook. The criminal activity that take place in the deep web includes mass sharing of copyrighted materials, exchange of sensitive intelligence, and even worse: assassinations requests, online trading of drugs and weapons, know-hows on making explosives, bombs and other downright illegal materials and data that I dare not mention.
The most dangerous part of the deep web is that its users are completely anonymous – thanks to the manipulative nature of the software used to access it.Its websites are specifically encrypted in a way that cannot be found by traditional means of searching, like Google or Yahoo.
Drug trades, arms trade and everything in between is being done online – because of complete anonymity of its users. When the authorities do not know who is doing what, it is very hard to halt the illegal trades that take place online. The internet is already a dangerous place as it is (to children specifically) and now we have the drug-dealers and arms dealers going online.
Anonymity for internet users is very important – or even necessary. But when it is being utilized as a shield for the criminal underworld, then it is a different matter.
“The deep web is made up of large amounts of information that has been posted online and that for technical reasons has not been catalogued or updated by search engines,” says Alfonso A. Kejaya Muñoz, Security Researcher at McAfee Chile.
“The Deep Web began in 1994 and was known as the ‘Hidden Web.’ It was renamed ‘Deep Web’ in 2001,” says Kejaya Muñoz. “However, some people believe that the origin of the Deep Web goes back to the 1990s, with the creation of ‘Onion Routing’ by the United States Naval Research Laboratory, which was the first step toward the Tor Project.”
As the website www.worldcrunch.com reports, it is estimated that Silk Road, a large drug-buying websitein the deep web makes more than $22 million a year, and police agencies worldwide are scrambling to come up with strategies to stop the online traffic.
Recently, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service started a joint operation to intercept transactions on Silk Road. In April, the U.S. DEA was also reported to have taken action against drug trafficking on the deep web.
The problem is that the transactions can be intercepted, but dismantling the network or tracking the users is almost impossible.
There have already been attempts to regulate the deep web and related programs that are used to access it. Recently the government of Ethiopia said it has installed security systems that block access to Tor in Ethiopia, to avoid illegal activity and Skype connections, which are regulated there. The effectiveness of that technology is not yet known.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=2040

Posted by on Nov 30 2012. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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