Inside the Dark Web

BBC Horizon dives into the ongoing battle between privacy needs and so called public protection that is raging nowadays in the internet. Fascinating stuff!

Even much before the revelations of US security contractor Edward Snowden, there were plenty of people concerned about the extent to which governments and corporations were collecting and analyzing our communications over the internet. Take Internet anonymity pioneer David Chaum for example. Back in the 80’s, Chaum was one of the few who were concerned about privacy and anonymity in the then infant internet. His 1981 paper,"Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses, and Digital Pseudonyms", laid the groundwork for the field of anonymous communications research. His proposal, called mix networks, was the conceptual ancestor to modern anonymous web browsing tools like Tor.

Chaum is one of many computer scientists, researchers, journalists and activists who are featured in the new episode of BBC Horizion: “Inside the Dark Web”. This episode aired at the end of September and it illustrates the drama that is unfolding in the net. You may not realize it, but every time you open up your laptop or switch on your phone, you are at the heart of one of the greatest battles now taking place in our midst - what shape will the internet take in the future, and what role will anonymity play in deciding it?

From BBC Horizon:

Twenty-five years after the World Wide Web was created, it is now caught in the greatest controversy of its existence: surveillance. With many concerned that governments and corporations can monitor our every move, Horizon meets the hackers and scientists whose technology is fighting back. It is a controversial technology, and some law enforcement officers believe it is leading to 'risk-free crime' on the 'dark web' - a place where almost anything can be bought, from guns and drugs to credit card details. Featuring interviews with the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and the co-founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, Horizon delves inside the 'dark web'.

But what Horizon mainly reveals in this new episode, is that scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the way such information could be used to predict our behavior and from that, be used as a form of control. "The power of that data to predict and analyze what we're going to do is very, very high," said Dr Joss Wright of the Oxford Internet Institute to the BBC. "And giving that power to somebody else, regardless of the original or stated intentions, is very worrying."

So how do we fight back this invasion to our private lives and this governmental-industrial control?

Well, start by installing our plugin and app, and move on to learn more from the excellent producers of BBC Horizon.