Privacy, Ethics, and the Dark Web

Privacy, Ethics, and the Dark Web

Richard T. Herschel (Saint Joseph's University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch009
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This article examines the impact that dark web activities are having on society. Hacking and data breach activities have created serious challenges to cybersecurity leading to new data privacy legislation in Europe and the United States. The dark web is a segment of the web where people employ special browsers that can mask their identity and hide their network activity. Here can be found a wide range of illicit activities that are oftentimes criminal in nature, including sales of stolen documents, the information of others, and other contraband. Companies are actively trying to monitor dark web activities because new legislation requires them to inform authorities if a breach compromising data privacy has occurred; otherwise, they can be penalized. It is argued that as governments act to reign in dark web activities, they must employ an ethical perspective that is grounded in theory to weigh the intentions of darknet actors and their impact. This is due to the fact that some dark web activities such as whistleblowing can actually benefit society.
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Hartnett (2017) states that when someone refers to doing online research on a topic or they are looking for other online information, they typically use search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Safari, and Bing. These applications employ information on the public [or surface] web, which represents only 4% of web content (~8 billion pages). The Deep Web refers to the other 96% of the digital universe that is basically hidden. Wolford (2018) notes that this is the bulk of the Internet and it differs from the surface internet that most people know and use, because it is not indexed by search engines. He reports that the Deep Web includes content such as financial databases, web archives, and secured documents.

Hewilson (2018) provides some interesting statistics about the Deep Web. The author reports that:

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