When you first hear about the dark web, you may ask yourself: “Is the dark web illegal?” Given how much criminal activity takes place on it, you would expect it to be.
In this article, you will learn what the dark web and deep web are and whether it is illegal or not to access them.
What is the Deep Web?
The deep web is just below the surface and not entirely dark. It refers to any website that is not readily accessible through a normal search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Why? Because the content on the deep web hasn’t been indexed by search engines. Simply put, the deep web is just another level of the internet found below the surface.
The deep web contains different types of content. Because it is invisible to traditional search engines, some of the content found on the deep web includes personal email accounts, social media accounts, banking accounts, medical records, legal documents, data stored by companies on their private databases as well as academic and scientific databases.
Is the Deep Web Illegal?
The short and simple answer is no, the deep web is not illegal.
The deep web is legal and compared to the dark web, it is a pretty safe place. The dark web is a small representation of the deep web. Most dark websites tend to be associated with illegal activities. Accessing information on the deep web is pretty safe.
For example, most people check their credit card statements and emails online without a single worry. However, that does not mean that examining that information is risk-free.
Although the deep web is a relatively safe place, it is always important to practice some safe internet traits. For starters, ensure you use a strong and unique password for all your accounts. The deep web has plenty of your personal details that criminals value. A strong password can make it hard for them to access these details.
Secondly, be careful when accessing your personal information on the deep web using a public Wi-Fi network that is unprotected. Instead, you can use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN network helps protect your privacy online and encrypts your data. Also, be wary of phishing which happens largely through spam emails so that you don’t end up sharing private information.
What is the Dark Web?
While the deep web is in some instances used in place of the dark web, the two are completely different things. The deep web, as we have discussed, mostly contains digitized records and harmless data. However, the same cannot be said for the dark web. The dark web is mostly associated with criminal activity.
Dark web websites are not accessible using regular browsers such as Chrome or Opera. Instead, for you to access them, you will need to use what is known as specialized darknet browsers, such as Tor.
Publishers of dark web websites are also anonymous. This is because of the special encryptions that the protocol provides. The addresses for dark web websites usually end with. onion. This is unlike the surface web’s addresses that end with .com, .gov or .org. The .onion address ensures that you are not browsing the interlinked servers that you frequently interact with. Instead, everything remains internal on the Tor network thus providing privacy and security to everyone.
Is the Dark Web Illegal?
Just like the deep web, the dark web is not illegal. However, the dark web is largely used for illegal activities by criminals who buy and sell narcotics, guns, personal details, and counterfeits products, among others.
Because the dark web is mostly associated with illegal activities, most people fail to see the other side of the dark web, which is used by whistleblowers and journalists. It is also a haven for political protesters, citizens of political regimes that are oppressive as well as human rights advocacy groups.
On the dark web, you can buy anything that you can think of, including things that you would never imagine. So, while the dark web itself may not be illegal, a large amount of the content found on it is.
Why Does the Deep Web and Dark Web Exist?
The dark web and the deep web exist because they provide a certain degree of anonymity and privacy.
The deep web exists to help protect your personal information and company data. The dark web, on the other hand, has a ton of illegal content but as long as you avoid visiting those sites or making purchases of illicit goods or services, you are not breaking the law.