Dark Net, Dark Web, Deep Web.
No matter what you call it, there’s certainly a case to crack down on the ability for these sites that operate off the grid to be under more of a watchful eye. Ironically, that’s the very reason those sites exist: to act outside government surveillance.
But according to a new global poll from Ipsos (a global market research company based in Paris), there’s support to shut down Dark Net sites in order to curb criminal activity. Criminal activity, for example, that have been tied to many bitcoin cases, such as the infamous Silk Road online drug marketplace.
The survey, which took into account 1,000 people across 24 countries, revealed that seven in 10 people believe the sites should be shut down in order to help law enforcement better track hackers and criminals who use the Dark Web to operate outside the law. These sites can only be accessed through certain browsers and have gained popularity since they promise the users anonymity.
That, like the recent Apple San Bernardino case, has created debates about access to data and encryption in order to track and curb criminal activity. In turn, it’s spurred similar debates about consumer privacy and government oversight.
While the Dark Net has its benefits, as it does allow those with good intentions to run investigations without being tracked as easily, it also has been a haven for child abuse networks, illegal online marketplaces, and a place for criminals to sell drugs and guns illegally.
The strongest support to crack down on the Dark Net came from Indonesia, India, Egypt and Mexico, with the weakest support coming from Sweden, South Korea and Kenya. Pakistan, Australia, the United States, France, Germany, Turkey and Tunisia also weighed in on the survey.
“The public clearly wants law enforcement to have the tools to do its job. But if you flip it around and say should they have access to your data they tend to feel differently,” said Fen Osler Hampson, director of the global security and politics program at CIGI, to Reuters.