The Deep Web not only defies the common assumption that Google knows everything, but is also often considered „the last wild west of the internet.“
Despite law enforcement efforts like the Europol and FBI-led Operation Onymous, the Deep Web continues to be a place relatively untouchable for government agencies or state control. While Operation Onymous led to the shut-down of the infamous black market Silk Road, many Darknet marketplaces and Hidden Services dedicated to all kinds of illicit activities from weapons dealing to drug trade to child pornography remain online.
But the Deep Web surely isn’t all dark. While Darknet Websites tend to dominate headlines, technologies like the Tor Browser have also become an essential communication tool for dissidents and activists from Iran, to Turkey to Belarus. While the usage number of easy to use Deepweb Browsers like Tor continues to be on the global rise after the Snowden-Revelations, the crypto-wars around a legal regulation of digital privacy technologies regularly resurface with politicians calling for an access to private keys of users in a database.
Following a brief introduction on some of the very different facets of the Deep Web, this panel will discuss the state of a technology, that for the better and worst forms one of the new frontiers of digital freedom. How do privacy technologies, the Deep Web (and associated cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin) shift the ways crimes are committed? How do law enforcement agencies adapt? How should a society react to a more or less legal black hole like the Deep Web, that cannot be solved technologically? Could the Deep Web, on another note, even re-facilitate 1990s internet utopias of alternative social connectivity (before the commodification of digital communication)? Could the Deep Web even be a motor for a free internet? And does that have to come at the price of deeply irritating illicit activities?
While the pros and cons on the Deep Web seem to relentlessly oppose each other, the need for an informed and public debate about the state of the Deep Web seems more important than ever.