What is the deep web? | Quantumrun

What is the deep web?

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By Sean Marshall
@Quantumrun
May 12, 2015,  6:48 PM

When a person hears the term Deep Web, it conjures up the idea of a bad B movie where giant cave spiders attack terrible actors. But many others feel the Deep Web is an actual growing concern. So this raises the questions: what is the Deep Web, and should we be worried about it?

The Deep Web is the name given to various parts of the internet not indexed by search engines. The whole purpose of these clandestine corridors is that anyone browsing them is completely anonymous.

The sites themselves stay hidden by using layered URL extensions with random combinations of letters and numbers for domain names. This makes it very difficult to get an exact website, thus allowing any person on such a website almost totally anonymity. A person on the Deep Web can do most anything without fear of persecution or punishment. 

Many officials and citizens alike have deemed The Deep Web as a place where there is no consequence to actions—an area of potential crime. Individuals like Lucas Robinson often speak out about The Deep Web.

“It's not inherently bad. It's just a tool like anything else, but with the fact that it's completely anonymous, that's where it gets dangerous,” explains Robinson. “I know it's a small minority of users that can take advantage of The Deep Web and use it for crime, but there's no way of catching them. That's the scary thing.” 

However, not everyone thinks that way; for every person who feels The Deep Web is a nightmarish place, there is someone else trying to change their minds.

Kevin Tong is like any average person; he pays his taxes, works hard, and does his best to stay out of trouble. What sets him apart from others is that he's a proud user of the Deep Web.  Kevin is part of the growing number of ordinary people using the Deep Web.

“The Deep Web isn’t just illegal stuff, it's got a lot of amazing potential,” says Tong. He also goes on to talk about how the Deep Web is a place where there can be an exchange of free information and ideas: “you can organize free from being watched. It's like what's going on in Hong Kong; the only way anyone can operate online there without the government butting in is on The Deep Web.”

“There's always going to be a need for free exchange of ideas without surveillance, and right now The Deep Web is the only place we have,” explains Tong. He did however address the issues of concern: “sure there’s disgusting and illegal things there, but there's always going to be disgusting and illegal and evil activities everywhere you go.”

Tong finishes his defense of The Deep Web by adding in his own experiences with it: “I use The Deep Web for information and trading and purchasing goods and I'm fine—no hassle, no problems. It's just all in what you perceive really.” 

Perception can really be all the difference when it comes to judging The Deep Web. Some people perceive that the deep Web is dangerous because it allows the worst of humanity to run rampant, while others like Kevin feel it's the last unmonitored place of free exchange.  The Deep Web is different things to different people, and only time will tell us of what The Deep Web is truly capable. 

With all this information brought up by both sides, another question emerges. What will the future bring? Tong thinks that The Deep Web needs to stay the way it is, otherwise it’s only a matter of time before it’s no longer the useful tool it has been. Strangely enough, Robinson has hope. “4chan was at one point something you whispered under your breath; but with regulation and hard work, it's not nearly as awful as it was.”

Robinson goes on to explain that there's always room for improvement. Despite being against The Deep Web and all the harm it can do, he knows that it takes a few decent people to properly run and organize something to achieve greatness. If a place like 4chan—which originally spread graphic porn, cyberbullying, and hate—is now helping people more than it ever did before, there can be hope for anything. 

Impact (ONLY use the 'Paste From Word' button to safely copy and paste text from a Word doc) 

The Deep Web gets a lot of bad press. It's often referred to as a place to find pedophiles, drug dealers and killers for hire. Despite seeming like a surreal place more suitable for a comic book than real life, there is potential for good. With a resetting URL allowing for total anonymity, your average person will assume only the vilest things will happen on this remote part of the internet. But many use it for productive things like peaceful protests in communist countries. Is The Deep Web a place of scum and villainy or can it be a benefit to mankind?

Forecasted start year: 
2015
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