THE synchronised pressing of the keyboard, florescent computer screen and sporadic clicks of the mouse wasn’t the cause of these relentless palpitations, or those simultaneous beads of sweat trickling from my forehead.
What was I doing? Why had I got this obsession with finding out did this “internet world exist? An accumulation of perspiration had built up on my palms once more, another brief wipe, and continuation with the task at hand.
The silence was piercing, we knew what was being portrayed on the screen in front of our eyes was both mind boggling and grotesque.
Another anxious click, six hours of programming and downloading plug ins, adjusting our privacy setting manually and removing any tangible trace of our location, we were in.
Welcome to the murky underworld of the Deep Web. An instant feeling of privilege ensued but was quickly overpowered and masked by a vast amount of fear.
William, a computer programme who is extremely proficient in areas such as Java script, HTML and general software encryption stated, “It’s not a case of just typing into Google and logging in, the deep web is complex and dangerous for those who can’t operate down there anonymously”
It wasn’t long before I found myself looking through documents about human experimentation, similar to those conducted by the Nazi’s during the persecution of the Jewish people.
Some documents were extremely elaborate in detail. Height, race, eye colour and age were used as grouping mechanisms to distinguish between these “people” who had no names.
“What is a foetus’s tolerance to bleach?” boasted one site. How long can a 46 year old Caucasian male survive without food in a room with a temperature of 40 degrees? These were just of the horrific experiments documented in the Deep Web.
Tangled up within this world of information columns and strange looking documents was a world of corruption, guns, sex trafficking and information about high profile individuals and their personal lives.
“These doxboxes or documents as we would call them, are constantly being monitored by the FBI and CIA, if you stumble on the wrong images or wrong page, you could find yourself in serious trouble”, states William.
Within the inner sanctum of the deep web individuals can avail of a multitude of illegal services such as rent-a-hacker, false documentation such as passports, and a wide range of guns and also view sensitive documents and user manuals for heavy weaponry and bombs.
Access to the deep web was gained through the Tor network, which essentially allows the user to browse the deep net unidentified. For example, when you request information from Google the information travels from the site/server you requested it from thus it can be easily tracked to your computer with your unique user identity.
However, the Tor network uses multiple servers and multiple computers from all around the world, all connected to the Tor network to relay the information back and forth. In this situation it is almost impossible to identify the requester or server of that particular information. There are layers and layers of security to provide maximum anonymity.
These websites in the deep web do not use traceable URL’s. It would only be fair to highlight the positive contributions sites such as Tor have provided in the past such as Egyptians using Tor during the Arab Springs to prevent and minimise interference from leading government officials and agencies. Whistle blowers also use Tor to speak openly without reprisal. Information has been provided to Wiki Leaks over the Tor network.
The currency used in the deep web is called Bit coins; these allow users to transfer funds without the individuals being exposed. Using Bit coins allows individuals maximum anonymity as this currency is encrypted; users are free to buy and sell whatever they want.
On line gambling tables open to all users, all you need to do is register and provide bit coins to play.
Sounds straight forward enough, however, these were no ordinary gambling tables. Markets were being provided for the life expectancy of particular individuals, with some players even hiring assassins from the same site to carry out killings in order to claim their prizes.
All winnings are paid in bit coins. This service is provided by “The Washing Machine”, a service which offers the transfer of bitcoins to a chosen currency without any trace of evidence to who or where the money is going.
I hoped what I was seeing were conspiracy theories or even fake documents, but the reality was, the deep web is very real. You cannot simply fall into it whilst surfing the net. It exists but only to those who actively go looking for it.
I closed the browser after reading a page description and URL that advertised the sale of human flesh by the kilo.