Most Dark Web Content Is Legal and Boring

November 15, 2016

Data crunching done by an information security firm reveals that around 55% is legal and mundane like the clear or Open Web.

Digital Journal, which published the article Despite its Nefarious Reputation, New Report Finds Majority of Activity on the Dark Web is Totally Legal and Mundane, says that:

What we’ve found is that the dark web isn’t quite as dark as you may have thought,” said Emily Wilson, Director of Analysis at Terbium Labs. “The vast majority of dark web research to date has focused on illegal activity while overlooking the existence of legal content. We wanted to take a complete view of the dark web to determine its true nature and to offer readers of this report a holistic view of dark web activity — both good and bad.

The findings have been curated in a report The Truth About the Dark Web: Separating Fact from Fiction that puts the Dark Web in a new light. According to this report, around 55% of the content on Dark Web is legal; porn makes 7% of content on Dark Web, and most of it is legal. Drugs though is a favorite topic, only 45% of the content related to it can be termed as illegal. Fraud, extremism and illegal weapons trading on the other hand just make 5-7% of Dark Web.

The research methodology was done using a mix of machine intelligence and human intelligence, as pointed out in the article:

Conducting research on the dark web is a difficult task because the boundaries between categories are unclear,” said Clare Gollnick, Chief Data Scientist at Terbium Labs. “We put significant effort into making sure this study was based on a representative, random sample of the dark web. We believe the end result is a fair and comprehensive assessment of dark web activity, with clear acknowledgment of the limitations involved in both dark web data specifically and broader limitations of data generally.

Dark Web slowly is gaining traction as users of Open Web are finding utilities on this hidden portion of the Internet. Though the study is illuminating indeed, it fails to address how much of the illegal activity or content on Dark Web affects the real world. For instance, what quantity of drug trade takes place over Dark Web. Any answers?

Vishal Ingole, November  15, 2016
Sponsored by, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph


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