Embracing the Dark: The Realities and Possibilities of the Undernet
Embracing the Dark: The Realities and Possibilities of the Undernet
In our society where the internet is always accessible and has information on anything
you may want to know, you probably use the internet every day, multiple times a day. What if I
told you that despite the amount of time and websites you’ve viewed, you’ve never seen more
than ten percent of the internet? Would it blow your mind to know that Google, Yahoo, and Bing
can’t search all the web when you search something? These realities may make it feel as though the world is a lie but really, maybe this hidden world isn’t such a bad thing. The deeper part of the web hides many hidden surprises often leading people to monsterize it. This part of the web, however, should show us what people are like when unbridled by authority and teach us the benefits of a free internet. Thus, we should embrace the Undernet as a place of refuge and an example of what we should strive for the surface web to be like.
The Undernet is typically divided into three layers: The Dark web, the Deep web, and
debatably the Marianas web (Cole, 2016). Each layer is deeper down the rabbit hole and needs a
bit more precaution and planning to reach. The internet most people know, as accessible by google, is called the surface web and contains between one and ten percent of the total sites on the web (Cole, 2016). The first layer below that is the Deep web, a private part of the web not typically indexed by search engines. The next layer is the Dark web, it is completely anonymous and requires special tools to reach. Finally, there is a highly debated third layer called the Marianas web, it’s the deepest “known” part of the web and not much is known about it (Gehl, 2018). The Marianas web is believed to be fake by most experts and researchers, but there are many people on the web who claim to have knowledge of how to access it (Gehl, 2018).
In a physical sense the different parts of the web are the same, but they are also very, very
different on internal levels. Surface websites are hosted on servers with some security and
encryption (Jardine, 2018). Deep websites are on more secured servers and have higher security requirements to access them (Jardine, 2018). Dark websites have extremely high security to assure anonymity (Jardine, 2018). It is unknown what the Marianas websites look like or what servers they may be stored on, but it can be inferred that they have high security and encryption (Gehl, 2018; Another Infographic of the Ocean, 2012).
While getting to surface sites simply requires a browser with internet access and a search
engine, going beneath the surface takes more tools (Tapia & Shorter, 2015). Reaching the Deep web requires at the very least a VPN or more likely a proxy (Bradbury, 2014). Diving into the Dark web requires a special anonymous browser called TOR. Although no one has ever, at least that has been documented, gone to the Marianas web, people have theorized how one may be able to get there using closed shell systems and even by solving quantum mechanics (Another Infographic of the Ocean, 2012). The information about accessing the Undernet makes it appear that to go there, you’re preparing for battle with a monster. This reinforces the notion of the Undernet being a scary, dangerous, monster of a place in the minds of people and governments alike, as will be discussed in the following section.
Accessing the Undernet isn’t inherently illegal in most countries. In places where it is illegal, the Undernet is censored along with the tools needed to access it like TOR (Cole, 2016). Many governments, especially the United States, monitor the sites on the Undernet (Jardine, 2018). Some sites hosted on the Undernet contain illegal materials and services such as: child porn, murder for hire, drug trade and forged documents (Jardine, 2018). These sites when found typically can’t be taken down right away (Jardine, 2018). For a government or law enforcement agency to take down an Undernet site, typically the host must make a mistake that creates either a vulnerability in the site or reveals the hosts identity (Johnson, 2014). In “Unveiling the Dark Web”, Allen is quoted, “When those criminals are caught, they are also apprehended because of human error, rather than any failure in the technology…” (Bradbury, 2014). The distribution of illicit materials and the difficulty in taking the sites down make Undernet sites like a monster in a nightmare in the eyes of the law.
As previously stated, some nations censor TOR and the Undernet, and the question that
comes to mind is: Why? With complete privacy comes immense freedom to spread ideas and
beliefs to people worldwide (George, Derrick, Marett, Thatcher, & Harrison, 2016).Some nations
would prefer that their citizens not be exposed to outside ideas or they shall face harsh
punishments. As stated in “Privacy, censorship, data breaches and Internet freedom…” (as of
2006) recommends that People in China use TOR for all browsing to protect them from
government prosecution (Jardine, 2018).
Most people don’t know that the Undernet exists let alone what it is. Daily, the internet is
used by 3.2 billion people, 2 million of those users use TOR to access all the web (Cole, 2016). This means about .0625% of people can access the whole web and it can be inferred that this is the percent of people who know of the Undernet (Cole, 2016). In a study conducted in the US, people were given a technical explanation of the Undernet and then were asked what they thought, and the participants were split nearly three quarters against and the rest for Undernet technology (Jardine, 2018).
As a member of the general public I can see why so much of the public is against the Undernet. We live in a society where the unknown is terrifying, and such things are often demonized. The unknown identities and possibilities of what information you may find are overwhelming and scary. Once you’re on the Undernet and the unknowns disappear, its monstrous appearance is no more. So, what can influence our opinion like this?
Traditional news outlets are the biggest suspects in the monsterization of the Undernet, as
they have large amounts of power to persuade public opinion. Typically, in a news report about
the dark web, there is a criminal case used to introduce the Undernet, and then a vague
description of it with safety tips (Gehl, 2018). If you searched for news stories about the Dark or
Deep web, you would see a bias toward making the Undernet a monster of pornography and
drugs, (Bradbury, 2014) whereas it contains so much more. In recent news this exact thing has happened, a Cleveland scoutmaster was found to have been trading child pornography on Russian Undernet sites (Simmons, 2018). The story does what typical news stories do in providing information on a case, then in its description of what, in this case the dark web, is. After the story, a brief description of the dark web is given, but in context with one man’s actions, the entire Undernet seems like a breeding ground for criminal acts (Simmons, 2018). Much like Frankenstein’s creature, the crimes make the host seem like a monster (Shelley, 1994). The creature, at least at first had no idea what he did was wrong, just as the Undernet doesn’t have the consciousness to know that crimes committed on it are wrong (Shelley, 1994).
Social media has exploded in recent years, making information travel at lightning speed.
Many social medias, including Facebook and Twitter, are looking into developing Undernet
versions of the site for privacy (Gehl, 2018; George, et al, 2016). Instead of fearing the capabilities of the Undernet and its monstrous reputation, the sites hope that increased privacy will make their sites safer and more accessible to all despite politics and censorship.
Memes are a great way to investigate the culture of the internet. They are created by
people to laugh, give opinions, and make issues known. So, the Marianas web meme is a good incite to what the internet believes is true about its self and the culture around it (Gehl, 2018). In one infographic meme, it is said that to access some of the deepest parts of the web “Polymeric Falcighol Derivation” (Another Infographic of the Ocean, 2012). To do this the author says, please excuse the language,
Shit…I don’t really know faggot. All I know is that you have to solve quantum mechanics in order to view this on even the normal web, let alone closed servers. Quantum Computation exists, and the government powers have them. So be careful what you do here. (Another Infographic of the Ocean, 2012).
The way the creator of the meme says this is littered with some harsh language and terms that, on the surface seem made up, makes the Undernet seem much harder to access than it is.
The difficult entrance may put most people off and make the Undernet seem as though it should be locked away, after all anything that hard to get into probably has some dark stuff hidden there. However, I contend that the Undernet is much alike the creature from Frankenstein. If you’ve ever read Frankenstein, there’s a good chance you may be part of a large group of people who believe the creature was simply misunderstood and this is my belief of the Undernet. If harnessed correctly, the Undernet’s power could influence all the web for the better. Being fully anonymous allows for true freedom on the Undernet, imagine if you had that power at your fingertips anywhere on the web. Anywhere in the world you could freely access any information you could want (Johnson, 2014; Jardine, 2018). In fact, to allow all users to access their sites with added security, many companies are beginning to host .onion sites (Jardine, 2018).
In the world we live in today, the internet is everywhere and anywhere imaginable (Bradbury, 2014). The part of the web where we are all free of identity is ostracized as a monster do to the unknowns and society’s fear of what is doesn’t know. I firmly believe that if we made friends with our monstrous foe, instead of following in Victor Frankenstein’s footsteps (Shelley, 1994) and trying to destroy it, we could make the web safe for all people and opinions. This monster is simply a misunderstood world that people use to commit crime but also use to spread their voice to all, regardless of political climate (Johnson, 2014; Jardine, 2018). Perhaps it’s time to embrace the dark to brighten the future of the entire internet.
- (2012, September 1).Another Infographic of the Ocean. Retrieved October 10, 2018 from http://imgur.com/vvXru
- Bradbury, D. (2014). Unveiling the Dark Web. Network Security, 14-17.
- Cole, J. (2016). Dark Web 101. Air & Space Power Journal. Retrieved October 20, 2018
- Gehl, R. W. (2018). On the Power of the “Marianas Web” Meme. In R. W. Gehl. Retrieved October 29, 2018
- George, J. F., Derrick, D., Marett, K., Thatcher, J. B., & Harrison, A. (2016). The Dark Internet: Without Darkness There is No Light., (pp. 1-3). San Diego. Retrieved 2018
- Jardine, E. (2018). Privacy, censorship, data breaches and Internet freedom: The drivers of support and opposition to Dark Web technologies. New Media & Society, 20(8), 2824-2843. doi:10.1177/1461444817733134
- Johnson, B. (2014). THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE DEEP WEB, TOR NETWORK, VIRTUAL CURRENCIES AND THE REGULATORY CHALLENGES THEREOF. Utica College. Utica: ProQuest LLC. Retrieved October 22, 2018
- Multiverse Hub. (2016, September 30). Polymeric Falcighol Derivation. Retrieved November 2, 2018 from Multiverse Hub: https://www.multiversehub.com/2016/09/polymeric-falcighol-derivation.html
- Shelley, M. (1994). Frankenstein (3 ed.). (C. Ward, Ed.) Retrieved November 1, 2018
- Simmons, B. (2018, November 2). Richland County scoutmaster used ‘dark web’ to trade illegal photos, but what is the dark web?, 2. Retrieved November 3, 2018 from WKYC 3: https://www.wkyc.com/article/news/crime/richland-county-scoutmaster-used-dark-web-to-trade-illegal-photos-but-what-is-the-dark-web/95-610780775
- Tapia, M. G., & Shorter, J. (2015). INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE INTERNET: THE DEEP WEB. Issues in Information Systems, 16(3), 230-237. Retrieved October 28, 2018
- Tenney, A. (2011, January 5). Anatomy of a Domain Name and URL. Retrieved November 6, 2018 from DomainSherpa: https://www.domainsherpa.com/anatomy-of-a-domain-name-and-url/
 The term Undernet refers to the web beneath the surface web, including the Dark, Deep and Marianas web.
 The Surface Web is the shallowest part of the web, accessible to everyone.
 VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and allows for mostly anonymous browsing (Cole, 2016).
 A proxy is a connection to another computer that handles requests, provides some anonymity (Cole, 2016).
 TOR, also known as The Onion Router, is a special anonymous browser that uses routers to make tracing users very difficult (Bradbury, 2014).
 Closed Shell Systems are computers that aren’t connected to an internet network and, thus, are only able to be accessed by a Local Area Network (LAN) or physically (Multiverse Hub, 2016).
 Polymeric Falcighol Derivation (a.k.a the “Vatican Secret Archives” of the web) is an algorithm that, when solved allows access to the deepest parts of the Undernet (Multiverse Hub, 2016).
 .onion is the top-level domain (TLD), and it specifies what type of site it is and/or where the site is hosted (Tenney, 2011).