In my inquiry project I will be considering Tor, the rogue internet browser that opens up users to the horror and freedom that is the Deep Web. Though most of what a person can read about the Deep Web involves horrific crimes against humanity and greedy schemes to acquire money, I can’t help but notice that these fears arise from what makes the Deep Web unique: the autonomy that is granted to the user.
On the Deep Web there is ultimate personal freedom and self-rule. Unavoidably, this has allowed some pretty terrible things to thrive in the absence of governing. Simultaneously, there are some great intellectual, political, and social commentaries being published, discussed, and archived. Many institutions, such as NYU, have even been creating and maintaining archives of pivotal political and literary works on Deep Web sites to ensure that they continue to exist and be maintained without fear of censorship.
This is a complicated beast, described very well and comprehensively here.
As spoken by Lev Grossman of Time Magazine:
“If people know who you are online, then you’re responsible for what you do there, and whatever you do has consequences. That’s on the one hand. And we’re trying to balance that with the need for privacy, the need for people to keep their personal information off the net and out of the public eye, because there are things that people deserve to keep private, and technologies like Tor can do that. Unfortunately, technologies like Tor are also subject to abuse. And as it turns out, owing to various basic flaws in human nature, when people enter a situation where they can do things and not be held accountable for them, they tend to do some very bad things indeed.”
So, join me as I examine the appeal and the repercussions of this social experiment in anarchy and freedom on the internet!