So…I was chatting on MadIRC again this morning (which has become a regular occurrence), and we had a stranger wander in.
She was nice, but some of our conversations revolved around conspiracy theory-ish topics. At some point, she sent me a private message and was asking about Marianas Web. I thought, Oh, it’s my other favorite topic (besides red rooms)!
I tried to explain that there is no such thing, but as usual, if someone believes in something like that, there isn’t much you can do. Her thoughts on it, however, were interesting. I asked her to describe what she thought it was, and she responded with a very esoteric, almost spiritual answer.
While I don’t recall her exact words, they were something like “It’s a place of darkness, so deep that you can’t see right in front of you, and where you don’t know what it is you’re perceiving.” Hmm…I think I’ve experienced that in meditation, but certainly not on the internet.
As I’ve mentioned on several previous posts, I don’t think there’s such a thing as Marianas Web. There are no “deep web levels,” so how can there be the deepest level? It still boggles my mind how much influence that original misinfographic has had, and yet it was the introduction, for many, of the idea of a “deep web.”
As far as I’m concerned, this infographic (and just about every other) related to the “deep web” is bullshit. To be honest, Tor, and its contemporaries like I2P and Freenet, are rather technical to explain, so it’s easier to just sum them up with a picture of the ocean. It’s just not accurate.
So, if that’s the case, then what is it really like? Well, all you have to do is Google “internet map” (or use whatever search engine you prefer). I’ve come up with a few interesting results. Here’s one:
I also happen to like the one on The Internet Map (though it’s a little outdated):
On this one, the circles represent different websites, and the larger ones are the ones with the most traffic (Facebook, Google, YouTube, etc.). Therefore, I think “space,” or a “galaxy” is a more apt metaphor for the internet (including the deep web and dark web).
Where would the dark web be in the galaxy, in this case? It would be a “planet” that you can’t see, or one so small that it’s difficult to track. I did manage to find a representation of Tor traffic as well, though:
It also looks a bit like stars, doesn’t it? As you can see, most of the traffic goes between the U.S. and parts of Europe, with a small amount spread across areas of the Middle East and Africa.
If there were actually a “Marianas Web,” I would assume that you couldn’t track its internet traffic, or that it would receive so little traffic that it would appear insignificant.
There was a project someone was developing along these lines called Phantom, which they described as “…
a system for decentralized anonymization of generic network traffic.” I don’t think it’s in development anymore, but the idea was that it could be a network separate from the internet, resistant to attacks, and designed in such a way that users’ internet traffic couldn’t be analyzed. That sounds like the closest you could get to a real Marianas Web.
I realize that it’s a bit less exciting, but that’s how Tor is too – you would know if you actually visited it.
Questions? Comments? As I always say, feel free to chime in, fellow conspiracy theorists!