Debate Magazine

Essay: Censorship, Freedom And The Dark Web’s Future

Posted on the 31 January 2018 by Darkwebnews @darkwebnews
Editor's Note: This is a heartfelt op-ed essay from the author. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Dark Web News.

There is often a cloud of misconception over that which we don't understand. It's possible that this is a core reason why many people fear the dark web as a nasty place.

Sure, it may be shroud in a vale and may have its unpleasant corners, but how is this any different from a corner bordello in the dark end of town?

The dark web is a "no borders, no censorship" arena which mirrors the human condition in profound way-Desperation. There are those that are desperate to feel something, those that are desperate to become "rich," and those that are searching for answers.

It's the latter which gains little focus as anyone able to even access the dark web can find themselves suddenly on a watchlist, or may be ostracized by their friends in a sort of taboo that steals the spotlight.

Computers fallen off the back of a truck, gambling in cryptocurrency, manifestos, open communication and endless IRC logs. It's a disgustingly beautiful exchange of information, panning to our primal instincts. It's arguably the essence of humanity.

But we should never forget the value of freedom.

The dark web may be the last corner of the world left uncensored. The West appears to miss this point, glancing past the dark web as a wart on the face of a squeaky clean Facebook. To the privileged, it is an Amazon for the illegal or questionable.

To the censored, it can be the difference between life and death. The difference between fact and fiction.

Communication and indeed all information in China is famously behind The Great Firewall.

So centralized is the nation's thinking that even today, dissenters disappear in dark jails, families too scared to speak up, too broken to face the facts and too paranoid to grieve.

The human rights issue of freedom is naturally complex. Censorship is sweeping the world in all facets. We are asking ourselves whether we can make comedy of an issue.

We are looking around a dinner table of friends for indication that a joke in poor taste is in fact still a joke or an attack. The self censorship has well and truly begun. Orwellian in essence.

Even now as I type and look to the big blue sky, I deeply wonder whether it's all too late. I'm reminded an episode of 'Black Mirror' entitled Nosedive-a chord struck in perfect harmony with the strange vibrations of our currently path towards a future that no one wanted.

It's then and there that the dark web provides a sanctuary. A home. A meaningful contribution and indeed a mirror pointed at ourselves and at our wants and needs beyond bureaucracy.

Do we take for granted what the dark web can mean to us? Do we understand the relevance and hope and life it can bring?

Net neutrality died the moment powerful lobbyists pointed their loaded gun at Senators either without foresight or with one eye at the gun and one at their bank accounts.

Censorship has entered our lives to a level where we're unable to know if we can laugh or not. Our freedom of the internet-or "clearnet," rather-is at an end or has already ended.

We've known since 2013 the scale of information siphoning by governmental organizations.

What will we have left if real-time alteration begins? What if we were suddenly unable to provide a status update due to the inclusion of a word, or the location of our device or the hashtag used? All three of these scenarios have occurred in some form.

In January 2011 the Egyptian government, in association with the pseudo-private sector telecommunication providers, during a brutal revolution blocked a number of websites before actually turning off the internet later that month.

The government continues to use this new toy as a periodical way of asserting control and wrestling power away from the people should it play to their advantage.

That isn't to say there isn't a deeply dark side to this all. Violence against another should be unforgivable. Spreading fear only adds fuel to the censorship fire. It only brings harsher "protections" down on a society as a whole.

Again, it becomes the all-too-difficult question of where the line is, who should be marking the line and what does the line mean for us. It's impossible to fully answer. It's impossible to know what to do.

We can't ignore the path the internet is travelling on. Censorship has invaded every element of our life at an unhealthy cost. The dark web, as well as anonymity software initiatives like The Tor Project, will need to be fiercely protected in the not-too-distant future.

And it's not going to be the marketplaces or ransomware forums that will save the dark web for us, it's going to be the measured and necessary human rights arguments which exist in protecting freedom of the press, free speech, open communication and an open world of information.

Transparency in technology, anonymity in user. The concrete foundation for a cyberpunk future is currently setting beneath us.

I see journalist's future in the dark web, unsoiled by the corporate narrative (perhaps built on the backbone of blockchain).

I see the power of the people's organization in the dark web's future-a Twitter for revolution.

I see something desperate, but also something truthful.

I see human nature, unhindered.


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