Is it Legal to Use Browsers Which Let You Access the Deep Web?
Browsing the Deep Web Anonymously? Find out if it’s legal or not here.
What is the Deep Web?
There is a lot of confusion and mystery that surrounds the deep web. You’ve probably heard of it, but most tend to think of the deep web as an online underworld where criminals conduct their business. The deep web is essentially any content that cannot be found by a search engine. Databases and statistics are a common example. This highlights that the majority of deep web content is actually legal.
The illegal element that is heavily publicised refers to the dark web. This is a small section within the deep web that can only be accessed using software that hides your identity. Hence, this is where criminals conduct their illegal activities as it is difficult for authorities to trace. ‘Silk Road’ grew to become the largest online illegal trade platform before being shut down in 2013, earning over $1.2 billion in revenue. The lure of the dark web has also hit Australia with cases of online drug importation picked up by the Federal Police.
How Can You Access It?
In order to access the deep web, you must use specific browsing software. This is because a lot of the content is available on sites that have addresses you can’t normally access. The most commonly used browser is known as TOR (The Onion Router). You can download and operate Tor just as you would with mainstream browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. The Tor browser will basically mask your identity by bouncing your activity across servers world wide. It will hide your IP address which in turn stops your personal data and metadata from being taken by others.
Is it Legal?
Using a browser to access the deep web is legal. It is rather what you do while using the browser that can be illegal. If you are unsure about using a private browser, a privacy lawyer can help clear up any concerns you have. While you can use the Tor browser to legally access websites such as Facebook, the feature of acting anonymously encourages criminal activity.
For example, using Tor to view dark web sites and purchase drugs or weapons is illegal and criminal. However, if you are a journalist who wants to talk privately with a source online, using a browser such as Tor is legal.
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Chris is a member of the content team at Lawpath. He is currently studying a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws at UTS. He is interested in how marketing communication strategies can influence the future of the legal industry.