Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Deep Web

Child pornography, snuff films (videos of real murder or torture), assassins for hire, government secrets, organ trade, underground fight clubs where men literally fight each other (and sometimes even animals!) to the death. With connections with the right people and some computer savvy, these are some of the things you can find on the deep internet. The deep internet, being any kind of information on the internet that is not accessible by normal means like search engines, constitutes many times more information than the regular internet. Most of this it innocuous, like library information or academic databases, but a portion of it is highly illegal material that cannot be hosted on the regular internet without swift prosecution. It isn't exactly that difficult to access either. I won't post how to do it, but a quick Google search will tell you exactly how to do it relatively anonymously (no program can guarantee true anonymity however). Once you have access, though many sites you'll need some kind of password or reference by a current member to access, you'd still be able to have access to a smorgasbord of illegal material without too much effort.

It would be easy to dismiss this material as being made and viewed exclusively by truly sick and depraved people. But the more I read about the deep web, the more tempted I am to take a peek myself and see whats out there. It's an irrational and utterly self-destructive impulse since even the smallest chance of being caught and ruining the rest of my life is terrifying, but its still a powerful impulse nonetheless. Even knowing that I would regret seeing some of the extremely disturbing material I might stumble upon doesn't completely stop it. It's a strange impulse that I and many others share and an impulse that can't be easily explained. It's like the phenomenon of people slowing down in their cars to get a closer look at a car accident. Not only does it seem like we are naturally wired to have a curiosity or maybe even hunger for violence, but it seems that people can enjoy violence for its own sake, with or without any context, since the violent images that one might stumble on in the deep web certainly do not have any context like portrayed violence in movies or even organized sports. The dark web, concealed in plain view in the regular internet that we use everyday, reveals the dark side of human nature from both the participants who create it and the viewers who look at it.

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