By Mushfiq Ali Khan
Sexual assault cases in Kasur , Sargodha and Jhang in 2015, 2017 and 2018 were followed by some short-lived murmuring about dark web among people. Given that these areas are well known for child pornographic consumption mostly in DVDs and CDs, one cannot be certain that the perpetrators of these sins are someway connected to the dark web. For a good reason, it is difficult to think of an ignorant child rapist a geek in utilizing tools to hide his internet presence. Yet, it is undeniable that these unfortunate events revealed us the hidden and sinister side of the internet.
During those times, when people were getting amazed by knowing the spooky facts about the darknet, I had a sound idea of what the heck it was.
Life was adventurous back in 2013. Few friends, lots of roaming in Ghizer and one day, came across the term “dark web”. Alone in room one day, I decided to get into this creepy part the internet however, using a 30Kbps dial-up modem.
My initial encounter was not much of a surprise. Nevertheless, after hours of wandering in search of something electrifying on Tor, I finally had some disturbing pictures of holy books. These books were mostly burned and were treated with such a disregard, seeing which I could realize that the offender was certainly suffering from a severe mental illness.
Religious insult is widespread on the darknet, for some people are happy consuming their internet anonymity in this way – exploiting others for no reason.
My curiosity is far from an end. The second time I entered, things were getting serious. I was a click away from hiring a hitman, and an endless number of drugs. These websites were barely different from Amazon and eBay. Polite vendors, discounted products, refund policies, product rating and reviews… in short, there was nothing abnormal there.
At this point, I felt that the odd expedition of mine to explore the dark web is turning into a bizarre experience. I stopped myself for a month from entering it again.
For some days after I stopped using darknet, little but this exciting encounter of mine became the subject of my every conversation with friends. Their inspirational gaze at me with glittering eyes during my long speeches revealing the secrets of deep web reinforced me to get back into the dark web for one last time.
A boring Sunday during those days was enough to put me back into that thrilling hell. After making sure my VPN and Tor browser is all set, I aimed for a big thing this time. I reminded myself that today I should find something spine-chilling or otherwise, I would be boring my friends with those same old monotonous dark web adventures. A while later, it seemed as if my all expectations became reality.
What I saw in my monitor was some mentally ill skinny people killing themselves, eating others and doing all sorts of other unthinkable animalistic acts. They were not alone yet, a specific audience was entertained by these live performances of torture and murders, who were paying a good amount of money (in bitcoins) for the show. This torture and killing screenings are controversial in the discussions of dark web today. Some people argue that the concept is just part of a controversy to detain people from accessing the deep web.
Intrinsically, a human being is an animal, and when he falls behind morality he keeps on falling. I learned this from my last encounter with the dark web.
I remained in solitude with a mild shiver which lasted for a week after that disgusting event. My recovery from which marked the ending of that evil deep web exploration. And, I have no plans to go back.
Today more and more people are using dark web for different purposes. Whatever the intention may be, there lies a single reason behind this increasing influx. Anonymity or privacy. With an increasing surveillance on the surface web, the dark web provides safe havens for journalist, whistleblowers, terrorists, drug deals and all kinds of other people seeking secrecy. There, nobody is watching, or tracking anyone’s IP. A dopamine of freedom continues attracting thousands every day.
Social networking giant Facebook has already released its deep web version in 2014, along with an album released during the same year entirely on the deep web . From these events, it is clear that our future internet is what we know today as deep web. Which indicates it to be creepier, more private, and yet, more exciting!
The contributor is a BBA student at IBA-Karachi. His Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/mushfiq.ak/