Last time, on Secrets of the Dark…
We explained some of the differences between the terms “deep web” and “dark web.” In part 2, I thought it might be helpful to go into a little depth about anonymous P2P networks.
I’ve mentioned a few of these before: I2P, Freenet, ZeroNet, and GNUnet. There are, of course, others as well, like Bitmessage, IPFS, RetroShare, WASTE, Osiris, and Syndie. (It appears that Osiris’ developers aren’t working on it anymore though.)
On I2P, for instance, there are several BitTorrent clients that you can use for P2P filesharing. One of these is I2PSnark:
If you’ve used other torrenting programs, I2PSnark is very similar. It’s a port of the BitTorrent client Snark, as a matter of fact. There’s also The Postman Tracker, which is very similar to The Pirate Bay. Does that ring a bell? To you toRRRenters, it should! (I couldn’t resist.)
As with other P2P filesharing programs, BitTorrent and Snark have been the subjects of litigation by music and media corporations who see them as a threat – are you really surprised?
Therefore, the idea of programs like I2PSnark is to enable you to torrent anonymously, which may help circumvent some of the attacks by the big guys. The Tin Hat describes it on How To Use I2P:
The torrents available on the tracker are great, and reflect the user-base of I2P. No, there isn’t much (if any) child pornography as some might claim about darknets. Rather, there are plenty of books, including huge collections on sci-fi and programming. There are also copies of the Pirate Bay, backups of leaked government documents, and books that have been banned in some countries. There are also movies, music, and of course as always, porn. But comparing something like the Pirate Bay with the I2P Postman Tracker shows you the overall attitude of many I2P users; that is to say that they value transparency, freedom of speech, copy-left, and the power of technology within society.
ZeroNet is similar, in a way – in fact, it uses the same technology as BitTorrent, but combines it with the Tor network for greater anonymity.
ZeroNet has other uses besides filesharing, but that is one of the most popular reasons that people decide to join, it seems. I plan on writing some more in-depth posts about ZeroNet in the future as well.
Anyhow, is this stuff part of the “dark web”? Technically speaking, yes – it’s the anonymity aspect that makes it “dark,” not the content, although you may find some dark things if you look hard enough.
I wouldn’t get your hopes up, though…