Recently I started to use alternative search tools such as Duck, Duck Go and my old old favorite Yahoo. Why? Well I just was wary about all the information that is being collected by Google, and just wanted to see what it was like to revert to another tool.
I’ve used Duck Duck Go some years ago and I remember that it was better than it is now. It felt cumbersome and I had to spell out fully what I was searching for.
What Google had been ‘anticipating’, was a feature that I’ve gotten used to and I just expect my mind to be read. Then not finding what I was looking for immediately was a strange and unsettling feeling. This made me think about the DARK Web and where the content of the web is not searchable.
Deep, Dark, Hidden
These are all names that are given to this information that is not indexed, hence invisible to our normal view.
What we know as the web, is in fact also termed the ‘surface web’. There is also another world that is not easily accessible – this is names the Deep Web and the so called Dark Web is part of this opaque zone that exists out of sight.
The Dark Web was formed as a result of a need for US defence to be able to communicate from remote locations. As a result it developed and with the notion that communications are anonymised it was critical that there be more than just the spies talking to each other. Hence they opened this up for the masses to also use as a channel.
Well, it is not that well defined but it is understood that the Deep Web is 400-500 times larger than the World Wide Web that we see everyday. At the end of the day, as this is not searchable, then these are mere estimates and no one really knows.
It is also expected that the content in the Deep Web would continue to grow and with digital data exploding, it is going to just increase the gap that already exists.
Peeling the Onion
This all started with what is called TOR or “The Onion Router” which is a service that was first released in 2002. The origins from the US Navy, and an attempt to protect confidential information. The messages that are sent using multi layer encryption, thus when received only the first layer for address to be sent onto is de-encrypted.
In this manner, the identity of the sender and receiver is fully protected from prying eyes of government and any entity. It is ironic that this was created by the US Government, which applauded when TOR was used to allow freedom of speech in the middle east and other countries where information was not able to easily shared.
However since the Edward Snowden and Wiki-Leaks saga, the US government has been concerned about the Dark Web.
The Bad Guys do use the Dark Web
More recently the Dark Web has been used by ISIS for recruiting new soldiers and historically has been the place to buy and sell drugs and weapons. There is no doubt that the security inherent in this technology has attracted the Bad Guys to conduct business in the shadow of the Darknet.
But it is also true that the Good Guys have used this Dark Web to overthrow governments or to share information within countries like China, where it is banned.
It gets a bad rap, but perhaps the Dark Web is not necessarily Bad.
Lost in the Dark Space
It is easy to jump to the conclusion that the Dark Net is for bad guys and thus everything inside is murky on purpose. In the main the Dark Net includes objects that are ‘private’ in nature and perhaps shared amongst friends. An example would be family photos or scanned records that you really don’t want others to see as they are just ‘personal’ and not ‘explicit or rude’.
These fragments exist in the Dark Net and have never been indexed, thus searchable.
Social Media Backlash
For each of us, we are using various forms of Social Media and our identity is in the main both known and discoverable. When you use Google Now and recognize that Google is reading your emails and anticipating what you are doing, and offering advice for your upcoming flight that it is on time but traffic is terrible.
While that can be construed as a good thing and hence a benefit. Personally I’d prefer my technology company not to know when I take holidays and who with etc.
I’d argue that over time there will be a greater sensitivity to use of my personal data and many people will consider that perhaps the Dark Web is not such a bad place after all.
Not that I’m going to do illegal things, but I just not sure I like the fact that data is being recorded of my life and it is entirely out of my personal control. Many professionals in IT are active on social media and without realising are part of the Quantifiable Self movement.
To me while I don’t want my personal information to be disclosed, I also don’t need to have this content all searchable by all…….
Perhaps I like the Dark Web after-all.