Silk Road was a platform which allowed individual sellers of illegal drugs like heroine and LSD to find buyers in exchange for payment in Bitcoins. Its existence was not an aberration. Apparently up to 90% of the World Wide Web, and perhaps maybe more, remain invisible to search engines like Google and Bing. Not all of it is sinister though. Archives of academic journals which exist in walled gardens are a case in point. They are accessible to only those who have a gate pass.
There are communities all over the Web which are accessible only to members, and which do not allow indexation by search engines. Some are worried that the Dark Net will be used by terrorists and criminals to share secret messages and plot attacks. Hence, law enforcement authorities themselves are actively trawling the Dark Net with their own apps. In fact, the Tor software widely downloaded and used for hosting and accessing anonymous sites, was developed with funding by the US State Department!
HOW TO CODE MESSAGES WITHIN FLICKR
Others say that there’s no need for criminals and terrorists to go to the Dark Net to share secret messages when they can as well use popular platforms. For instance, it’s said that the digital codes of photographs uploaded in Flickr.com are used by some to pass on coded messages. Alternately, sequences of specific pictures with meanings can be posted on Flickr to convey a message. Apparently, coded messaging happens in full public view even through Twitter.
I guess the Dark Net would remain a reality so long as the regulators of the World Wide Web do not make search engine indexation a must for all online platforms. Such a regulatory stance may also have to confront the tendency of government agencies everywhere to be active on the Invisible Web. For instance, in his book Viral Loop, Adam L Penenberg speaks about an e-bay like auction market in Switzerland called WabiSabiLabi which sells blackmarket hacker code. And the biggest buyer in the blackmarket hacker code auction mart? Surprise, surprise, it is the US government! The Americans are apparently active there so as to stockpile software ammunition in anticipation of cyber warfare!!
So the combination of lax regulation, vested interests of government agencies, and the technological prowess of activists underground looks set to ensure the longevity of the Invisible Web.
So the answer to those who worry about the Dark Net could be that it would produce platforms which are capable of confronting and taming the toxic elements within.