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How the Deep Web Works

The Brighter Side of Darkness
A significant aspect of Bitcoin's appeal is the anonymity of transactions.
A significant aspect of Bitcoin's appeal is the anonymity of transactions.
© audioundwerbung/iStock/Thinkstock

The dark Web has its ominous overtones. But not everything on the dark side is bad. There are all sorts of services that don't necessarily run afoul of the law.

The dark Web is home to alternate search engines, e-mail services, file storage, file sharing, social media, chat sites, news outlets and whistleblowing sites, as well as sites that provide a safer meeting ground for political dissidents and anyone else who may find themselves on the fringes of society.

In an age where NSA-type surveillance is omnipresent and privacy seems like a thing of the past, the dark Web offers some relief to people who prize their anonymity. Dark Web search engines may not offer up personalized search results, but they don't track your online behavior or offer up an endless stream of advertisements, either. Bitcoin may not be entirely stable, but it offers privacy, which is something your credit card company most certainly does not.

For citizens living in countries with violent or oppressive leaders, the dark Web offers a more secure way to communicate with like-minded individuals. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, which are easy for determined authorities to monitor, the dark Web provides deeper cover and a degree of safety for those who would badmouth or plot to undermine politicians or corporate overlords.

A paper written by researchers at the University of Luxembourg attempted to rank the most commonly accessed materials on the dark Web. What they found was that although sites trading in illegal activities and adult content are very popular, so too are those concerned with human rights and freedom of information [Source: ArXiv].

So although the dark Web definitely has its ugly side, it has great potential, too.