Let me preface this post by saying this is not only an extremely well written piece by Jason Smith, but one of the most important articles I’ve come across in recent memory. I strongly encourage you to read the link below.
I’m posting to this article about the dark web (aka Darknet) for a couple of reasons, one of which has to do with literature. I recently read a novel called Make Me about this very subject and was curious whether Lee Child was exaggerating for the sake of the “tension” of the plot, or whether this stuff was real.
Turns out Mr. Child was actually pussyfooting around the subject. Gulp.
Jason Smith has a more detailed answer to my question about whether this whole dark web thing is the real deal, and it’s not pretty. In an article titled “Journey Into the Dark” he actually tracks down someone who has operated extensively on the dark net, and the stories that follow have left a hollow feeling in my stomach.
“There’s some awful shit on here,” he warned me. “In the old days, if someone was kidnapped, they asked for ransom. Now, these teams in South America abduct kids and women from areas that are poor, knowing the media won’t give a shit about them, and then hold them in dungeons with webcams. People then make requests using Bitcoin, as to what they want to see happen to the person. It’s fucking sick.”
Jim says he never ventured into that more insidious, disturbing side of the dark web because it scared him. But he has plenty of acquaintances who did, he says. He claims it changed them. He couldn’t say how, exactly. Or maybe he could but didn’t want to. Regardless, Jim said, they weren’t the same after.
The above is pretty much the plot of Make Me, and now I’m convinced there’s got to be some kind of solution we have to seek to the dark net – because if not, I’m pretty sure the Wild West is going to return like nothing we’ve seen in modern civilization.
One case in point is the spread of drugs in Western society, which is facilitated in large part through the dark net. For those of us who live in Canada and the U.S., drugs like Fentanyl have taken over the streets in many cities. Both governments agree there is a national health crisis with respect to this. And the dark web is playing a significant role.
Per Mr. Smith’s article once again.
It’s a clusterfuck. People are dying, prisons are filling up, and nothing changes. More people died last year than at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016 than died during the entire duration of the Vietnam War.
And we’re not even close to getting a handle on this thing.
I don’t pretend to have any answers (I only learned what Tor, the onion router, and VPN were today), but I’m a little scared. I’m glad the feds are getting involved, though it seems to no real avail. A few high-profile minnow snags here and there in an ocean of corrupt whales.
For my own sanity, I think I’ll just stick to the surface web and continue to pretend the dark web doesn’t exist.