Walkthrough of Tor, Silk Road, and dark parts of Deep Web
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Dark Web
Dylan Love writes about the dark side of the Deep Web:
There is more content out there than any conventional browser can access. These sites are termed "Deep Web" or "Undernet." They exist outside the scope of Google, Facebook, and your RSS reader. It's the digital equivalent of a thriving city that's been domed over and cordoned off.
Tor, originally an acronym for "The Onion Router," is an anonymity network designed to keep your identity and location completely secure as you browse the web. When you use the Tor browser (a free download), volunteer servers around the world route your internet traffic from server to server before finally delivering you your content. On top of this evasive routing, data is encrypted a number of times as it travels to you.
Michael Bergman of BrightPlanet puts it succinctly: "Searching on the Internet today can be compared to dragging a net across the surface of the ocean. While a great deal may be caught in the net, there is still a wealth of information that is deep, and therefore, missed."
There is lots of promise in Tor's value – people use it to protect their communications, to research sensitive topics, and to access information they might otherwise not have access to (if a country is behind a firewall, for example). By guaranteeing such a high level of anonymity, Tor lends itself well to information freedom activists, libertarians, and those who simply want to take their Internet safety to the extreme.
But with such anonymizing power made available for free, some less-than-legal (and even downright malicious) operations claim to operate successfully.