Is it legal to use the Darknet?
All of you have at least once left your data on the Internet. Then keep in mind someone is already buying them, and someone is selling them. And all this happens on the Internet. But not ordinary, but in the dark – the so-called Darknet. This part of the World Wide Web is much more significant than you think.
The secret Internet is a collection of websites with hidden IP addresses of the server on which they are hosted. Fortunately, you don’t need to log into the Darknet to play teen patti online. All online casino games are legal and available to adult players 24/7.
The entrance to the Darknet is through the Tor program. It provides anonymity in the network. However, sites in the Tor network are located in the onion domain zone. So if you can be frightened by an address like zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion, you better stay away from the Darknet.
Why go to the Darknet?
Firstly, for information or communication, and secondly – for goods.
People from totalitarian countries can use the Darknet to communicate with the outside world without being monitored by special services. Or to bypass censorship.
Almost every country in Europe has a resource – an anonymizer of messages, which allows you to anonymously inform journalists about offenses.
It all started in 2011. American William Ross Ulbricht, under the nickname Dread Pirate Roberts opened an online store Silk Road in the Tor space. It sold mainly drugs. There were also prohibitions on the site: it was impossible to sell weapons, child pornography, and provide services of racketeering and physical violence.
Ulbricht said: the goal is not to enrich but to spread the idea of freedom.
‘We see the potential for a fundamentally different distribution of power. People can now control the flow of information, money, and distribution. Sector by sector, the state loses the role of a monopoly distributor of benefits. Instead, power returns to the individual,’ he wrote in an interview for Forbes.
Dread Pirate Roberts
Through his manifestos, he gained fame as a revolutionary and critic of the existing system. And he called himself a libertarian* (letter to the judge): ‘I believed at the time that people have the right to sell and buy anything as long as they do not harm others.’
At the same time, according to the US Prosecutor’s Office, he enriched himself by at least $18 million. Ulbricht was caught in 2013 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Or rather, to two. And also to 20, 15, and 5 years in prison for separate episodes.
After the closure of Ulbricht’s store, the ‘Milky Way 2.0’ opened on Darknet, which was believed to have been created by the state to find criminals. It was closed in 2014.
The legal side of the Darknet
Intelliagg and Darksum are cyberintelligence companies. Both firms search for and aggregate data on various organizations and individuals that could pose a threat to their customers. For example, Intelliagg and Darksum recently joined forces to explore the Darknet jointly. The network scouts estimate that there are 29,532 sites in the .onion zone, but only half contain any illegal content.
The Darknet is still very small, with 30,000 sites – nothing compared to the Internet, where there are about 1.3 billion different resources. Nevertheless, the network underground is of great interest to intelligence services and security experts because it is believed that the lion’s share of cybercriminals ‘reside’ there.
Surprisingly enough, Intelliagg and Darksum analysts concluded that Darknet consists of more than child porn sites and hacker forums. Machine analysis showed that 48% of darknet sites are free of illegal content by US and UK standards. The analysts doubted the result, as they manually checked another 1,000 random sites. A more thorough check revealed that 32% of the sites were completely legal. It looks like the actual ‘legitimacy score’ is between those two values, but if at least a third of the .onion zone consists of harmless content, that’s already a lot.
The Tor underground is very malleable and constantly changing. Thus, out of almost 30,000 .onion sites, only 54% were always available, while 46% of the resources appeared, disappeared, and new ones appeared in their place. Experts speculate that such rotation is because many of the sites observed were used as command and control servers for malware, file sharing, or as the foundation for chat rooms.
A total of 32 different languages are spoken in the .onion zone, but English prevails by a wide margin:
- 76% of the sites are English-speaking.
- Second place goes to German (4%);
- Third place is Chinese (3.7%).
The content of all of the sites studied was carefully categorized. It turned out that porn and drugs are far from being the most frequent phenomenon in the .onion zone. Instead, it was estimated that 29% of the sites are file-sharing sites, 28% of the resources are centered around data breaches, and another 12% of the sites are about financial fraud (mostly carding sites).
Darknet still offers strange and unusual goods. If a person has distinctive passions and whims, a darknet seller will find the right thing for him in exchange for cryptocurrency. But, unlike the regular and strictly regulated Internet, the Darknet remains a lawless place where things have a price. And what you buy here can raise many questions – both for yourself and the law enforcement agencies in relation to you.
The dream is the biggest darknet market. Like other such markets, drugs are mostly sold here.
For $150 in bitcoins or BCH, you are sold a powerful 20,000 MW laser that can supposedly burn through targets. You are immediately warned that it must be handled carefully and only used against bears that might attack you while fishing or in the woods. However, before it gets to you, such a thing can also attract law enforcement’s attention, and fishing, in that case, will have to be postponed for a long time.
The Wallstreet Market is another darknet market, where the main products are a variety of pharmaceuticals. In addition to those, there are many other things – for example, a starter ‘anonymity package’ promises 24 e-books that will show you the basics of encryption and privacy. Each book costs $1.99 and will give you all the information you need to create your own ‘darknet vendor’ account. But it seems the police have already figured out how to track them down, just like Ross Ulbricht, the leader of the Silk Road, for example.
In another market, called Berlusconi Market, gold can be purchased in bars or grams and ounces of powder, according to its vendors. Payment is accepted in bitcoins, lightcoins, and XMR. It seems that either way, it would be considered smuggling or trafficking in precious metals – then it could all be ‘sold’ to you as well.