Thursday, January 01, 2015

"Dark Web" v. "Deep Web": a distinction with a difference


This is not the most specific post of all time, but it’s well, on New Year’s Day, to note Vox Media’s explanation of the “Dark Web”, which is something different from the “Deep Web”, link here, story by Timothy B. Lee.
  
Much of the Dark Web concerns mechanisms to shield users from surveillance.  These may be users with good motives, in authoritarian countries, or they could be drug traffickers or those selling counterfeit or pirated goods (the “Silk Road”), where enforcement operations often nab “innocent bystanders” and can bring down whole sites. An important component is TOR, the “onion router”, which EFF has been saying every sincere Internet user should learn to use and support – to help those in authoritarian regimes.  Facebook is now going to allow its use in some situations.
  
The Dark Web is also associated with Bitcoin, which is popular for those who want anonymity in their transactions, but which doesn’t provide the shielding from authorities some people expect. Nevertheless, most “ransomware” demands payment in bitcoins.  There is debate as to whether most people should have at least a small bitcoin account – just like most people may need PayPal occasionally for smaller sites that no longer want to deal with the security problems of taking credit cards.
  

The “Deep Web” is different, and is a concept that applies to “online reputation”.  It refers largely to content that doesn’t get indexed by search engines, including most social media postings.  acebook and twitter posts normally don’t get indexed, but blogs normally do; (and I think Myspace used to). Lee says that some regular sites don’t get indexed, but in practice it seems that most do.  In the earlier days, sites would have forms for submitting sites for indexing, but it turned out this was largely unnecessary.  (Oh, I just discovered now with a Bing search that someone is “pirating” and plagiarizing my movie reviews “for profit”.)  

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