Lance Henderson makes a variety of interesting and compelling points in his book. Henderson posits that all data should be encrypted. At one point, his brother suggests only encrypting sensitive or important data. Henderson compares this to a “fire alarm,” meaning that the very act of encrypting only sensitive data will then become a signal that that data in particular is sensitive. Henderson suggests encrypting everything, which puts all data at the same level of importance, and therefore, makes it more difficult to determine what is truly sensitive. Another interesting point is illustrated in a quote from Batman’s Dark Night, when the character Bane stated, “No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.” In the context of this book, Henderson is making a statement that the very act of becoming anonymous provokes people to believe that you have something to hide, or that you are otherwise of greater interest than somebody who is not anonymous. As the main principle of the Dark Web is anonymity, this is related to the course, as issues related to anonymity were discussed at length, including the fact that anonymity does not always lead to illegal activity. In fact, the majority of Dark Web activities are harmless. The third interesting point that Henderson made also ties into anonymity. At one point he tells his brother that the act of encrypting everything protects Chinese dissidents. In oppressive countries where freedom of speech is not protected, dissidents have no choice but to remain anonymous. In the act of encrypting all data, these anonymous dissidents become more protected, as the sea of encrypted data becomes larger and it becomes more difficult to discover information that could be used to incriminate them.
Online privacy through Tor is a right, or at least, it should be. In the United States of America, freedom of speech is protected by the constitution. However, in modern times, it is not always so easy to speak freely. With the internet leaving a trace of everything we do, old habits and mistakes can come back to haunt us. We can be punished for views that we no longer hold or our images can be tarnished for acts we committed years ago. The only way to truly speak freely is to speak anonymously, and, by that logic, the Dark Web is one of the only places where that is possible. Therefore, online privacy through Tor is a right and it should be protected.
It is my opinion that the government will eventually regulate the Dark Web, or will at least attempt to do so. One compelling reason is that the same methods used to encrypt government data are used on the Dark Web. For this reason, it is in the government’s interest to keep these methods secret, and this is one reason that the Dark Web will most likely be regulated at some point. Another reason is to protect the innocent. Illicit activities can be conducted on the Dark Web, such as child pornography rings, and innocent victims of these acts need to be protected. A third reason is financial. Having an untraceable and independant crypto-currency, such as Bitcoin, is rather threatening to financial institutions and to the government as a whole. This could pave the way for creating a completely independant system of commerce, which would severely threaten the government’s power and control, and could lead to chaos in the end.
The biggest issue for law enforcement on the Dark Web is the fact that activities on the Dark Web are not traceable by conventional means. There is no paper trail, nor is there a digital trail to follow. For this reason it is very difficult to prepare an investigation into a crime. Law enforcement must use more time consuming tactics to collect evidence of crimes on the Dark Web, such as determining group membership through linguistic similarities or relying heavily on informants. These forms of evidence are not as convincing as the hard evidence left behind from a traditional paper trail.
The Dark Web is not a right. The Dark Web is a magnet for illegal activity and it must be shut down. If individuals have nothing to hide than there is no reason for them to participate in anonymous activity. Freedom of speech is protected in the United States, and therefore, there is no reason for the covert operations performed on the Dark Web. The Dark Web is also a breeding ground for a culture that leads to illegal activities. Individuals freely discuss committing illicit acts on forums, and very rarely does anybody step up to tell them to stop. Even if the vast majority of this is empty talk, a mob mentality can form which could compel somebody to commit a crime that they may not have committed under ordinary circumstances. The Dark Web is untraceable, and this makes it very difficult for law enforcement to protect citizens. When a crime is committed, there is no paper trail, and persecutors must use more time consuming and less reliable methods to enforce laws.
Finally, the Dark Web uses the same encryption techniques as the government. Hackers have access to the methods used to keep our nation secure, and this makes it easier for them to breech government protections. In conclusion, the Dark Web is dangerous, unnessicaly, and should be shut down as soon as possible.
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