Geoff White Technology Journalist for channel 4 news. Amazon Audible Original named The Dark Web. Geoff spent years exploring and watching the dark web grow.
The dark web is a mirror of society were you trade anomalously in the shadows therefore the products are not motorbike parts and care bears instead its children, slaves, guns, drugs and all things sinister.
To understand the dark web you first need to know how the normal web works. The internet and the world wide web are two different things. The internet is like train tracks, switches and signal boxes that you use to get around the network and the websites are the train stations - the destination you want to arrive at. To use this system you need a ticket, on the ticket it will have the name of the station where you have boarded and the station where you are going to, this enables any ticket inspector along the way to see where you have come from and where you want to go. This is the same online i.e. the website you are looking at knows where you have come from. For the pleasure of its use we hand over this information freely but what if you didn't want people to know?
Lets say you are a CIA agent viewing a jihadi website you don't want them knowing your origin, you certainly don't want any ticket inspectors looking at your ticket along the way. The question for some US government agencies was how can they harness the worlds great communication tool but remain in the shadows? Around 2002 a group of people came up with a solution, a system that could hide travellers allowing them to navigate the net without giving away their real life identities or locations. This would open the doors to a shadow internet one where secret lives can be lived, revolutionary thoughts voiced and hatful crimes committed so who invented such a new and radicle technology? It was the USA Naval Research Laboratory.
Why didn't the Navy just build their own internet? Two reasons, it would have cost a lot of money and also anyone using it obviously would have been from the US military. By creating the dark web you now have a blank train ticket, no one knows where you are going or where you have come from. This system was called Tor but it had one major snag, yes you have anonymity but again if the US military were the only ones using it they are again linked to what they were trying to hide viewing. A decision was made that the best way for the spy's to hide would be amongst as many people as possible so the solution was to hand their cloak of invisibility to the public and what would be would be.