The Dark Web

January 15, 2016 • Volume 26, Issue 3
Does identity-masking technology increase cybercrime?
By Marcia Clemmitt

Introduction

Eric Eoin Marques (AP Photo/Niall Carson)
Eric Eoin Marques, arrested in Ireland by the FBI in 2013, is the alleged operator of Freedom Hosting, a Web hosting service that authorities say enabled criminals to access child pornography and conduct other illegal activities on the Dark Web. The FBI called Marques the “largest child porn facilitator on the planet.” (AP Photo/Niall Carson)

Millions of people worldwide are using computer technology that allows them to visit websites, communicate with others and conduct business online without leaving a trace of their identity or location. That so-called anonymizing technology has created what experts call the Dark Web, a murky layer of the online world far less visible than the one accessible by Google and other common search engines. Proponents say the Dark Web's ability to mask identities helps protect dissidents in repressive regimes, allows police and military personnel to conduct covert operations and lets human rights activists report atrocities without risking reprisal. But critics say the Dark Web is a pathway for cybercrime, used by child pornographers, drug dealers and sex traffickers to hide their illegal dealings. Some law enforcement officials say the technology cripples their ability to catch criminals. But civil-liberties advocates counter that online anonymity is so valuable for good causes that it must not be curtailed.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Computers
Feb. 26, 2016  Virtual Reality
Feb. 12, 2016  Video Games and Learning
Jan. 15, 2016  The Dark Web
Feb. 15, 2013  Improving Cybersecurity
Apr. 13, 2012  Internet Regulation
Sep. 16, 2011  Computer Hacking
Sep. 24, 2010  Impact of the Internet on Thinking
Feb. 26, 2010  Cybersecurity
Aug. 01, 2008  Internet Accuracy
May 02, 2008  Cyberbullying
Jul. 28, 2006  Cyber Socializing
May 12, 2006  Controlling the Internet
Jun. 10, 2005  Identity Theft
Sep. 17, 2004  Cyberpolitics
Sep. 26, 2003  Cybersecurity
Apr. 12, 2002  Cyber-Crime
Oct. 27, 2000  Computers and Medicine
May 26, 2000  Future of Computers
Jan. 28, 2000  The Digital Divide
Feb. 05, 1999  Digital Commerce
Jun. 30, 1995  Regulating the Internet
May 21, 1993  Software Piracy
Sep. 30, 1988  Management's High-Tech Challenge
Jan. 09, 1987  Power Surge in Personal Computers
Feb. 13, 1981  The Computer Age
Nov. 03, 1978  America's Information Boom
Jan. 06, 1978  Computer Crime
May 12, 1971  Reappraisal of Computers
Jul. 25, 1962  Approach to Thinking Machines
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Computers and the Internet
Crime and Law Enforcement
Currency
Drug Abuse
Freedom of Speech and Press
Privacy
Technology
Terrorism and Counterterrorism