Freedom and Privacy on the Dark Side of the Internet

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

Literally “under the surface” there is a whole other Internet comprised of, for the most part, what seems to be all the atrocious characteristics of our familiar Internet. However mysterious and dark this “other” Internet sounds, that is not what Ian Clarke intended for his innovative idea of a “Distributed, Decentralized Information Storage and Retrieval System”. With the hope of unlocking what he considered to be the true purpose of the Internet, freedom to communicate, back in the late 90’s, Clarke explained, “The Internet could be monitored more quickly, comprehensively, and cheaply than dated versions of communication like the mail.” Clarke named his software Freenet and allowed it to be downloaded free of charge in order to allow people all over the world anonymous access to a previously hidden Internet.

Once downloaded, the software prompts you to set the amount of security you think you need, acknowledging the fact that you may be violating laws in your country by accessing the information that you are looking for. Although the majority of the “other” Internet has been admitted to contain an immense amount of child pornography, virus sharing, media piracy, organized cyber crime, and incomprehensible acts of privacy invasion, there are still people using the veil of mystery and obscurity created by darknets and other forms of the “deep web” to communicate and share ideas and opinions about governments, politics, conspiracy theories, as well as human and animal rights, some more radical than others. Clarke and others have openly defended the freedoms of the “hidden”, claiming they need to be defended absolutely. Clarke also admits that child pornography exists on Freenet and that a virus could, theoretically, be constructed to target and destroy any child pornography. This however, will likely never be implemented because according to Clarke, “To modify Freenet, would be to end Freenet.”

Student Researcher: Nick Gedo
Faculty Instructor: Elliot Cohen
Indian River State College

Source: Andy Beckett, “The Dark Side of The Internet,”,