The deep web, also known as the dark web or the invisible web, is the hidden, “unconscious” part of the internet that most of us don't know about. Accessed through software like the Tor browser, this obscure part of the web is shrouded in anonymity, offering a safe haven for anyone from casual browsers to political activists or criminals, due to its privacy-oriented qualities. Here are several intriguing facts about the deep web that you might want to look at.
1. A Huge Amount of Content
Allegedly, the deep web is home to a much larger amount of content and information than what all the accessible online pages the traceable web consists of. According to experts, the known internet, accessed through mainstream browsers, only makes up about 10-15% of the whole (at best), with the remaining 7,000 terabytes being uncatalogued.
2. Accessing It
Another interesting fact about the deep web is that it can only be accessed through special means, the most famous of which is the Tor (The Onion Router) anonymity network. Originally developed to provide basic anonymous internet usage, Tor has grown into a medium through which anyone, from journalists to activists, tries to bypass their countries' online censorship and surveillance systems.
The Onion Router was first developed by a non-profit group called the Tor Project. Ironically enough, the Tor browser – the major tool for accessing hidden .onion websites – was initially funded by the US government. $1.2 million went into the project in 2012. Today, it is considered to be one of the only anonymity browsing systems that government surveillance programs, such as the ones designed by the NSA, cannot bypass.
4. Impossible to Track?
Mass data collection and surveillance agencies consider projects such as Tor running on the deep web to be one of their biggest nightmares. In countries such as China, the US or a number of places in the Middle East where online surveillance and/or censorship reigns, a growing number of people rely on Tor and the deep web to protect their online privacy.
5. Coordinated Revolutions
One of the most famous facts about the deep web was linked to the Arab Spring revolution, which was coordinated by activists through the invisible web in 2010, and has led to several governments conceding power, including Egypt and Tunisia.
6. Safety and Intelligence
In today's highly technological society, the deep web often serves as a haven for those who need safe access to delicate information. Journalists rely on it as an increasingly accurate source of information on news topics that would seldom be found on the regular web.
7. Deep Web Currency
The currency used on the hidden web is called Bitcoin – you've surely heard of it. Its creator is an anonymous user who goes by the name of “Satoshi Nakamoto”. In Japanese, it means “thinking clearly inside the foundation”.
8. Crawling the Hidden Web
Although some still claim the deep web to be untraceable, recent developments have led to a large number of websites going offline and government officials infiltrating the network. Efforts are also being made to “clean up” some of the illegal activities on the deep web and to make it more accessible.
The deep web has been subject to countless controversies as of late, with some focusing on illegal activities, but many also outlining the spirit of freedom on the web as it once used to be. Do you have a favorite fact or story you've heard about the hidden web?