By Atreya Misra
Last week two teenagers, Danny Phillips and Eric Davidson in New Jersey, purchased synthetic cocaine from online suppliers on the website the silk road marketplace. What they didn’t know is that they would overdose, get rushed to the hospital, only to find out it was too late. The problem with online drug and weapons transactions has plagued the country, affecting homes, schools, and minors – all under the nose of law enforcement. It’s time to put an end to online illegal purchases and the other detriments of the deep web by affirming a legislation to crack down on the deep web.
First off, let’s examine the potential for this problem. In particular, it’s important to examine what makes up the deep web. Louisiana State University explains that websites like Facebook and Youtube are part of the surface web. But the surface web only makes up for about 4% of the actual Internet. The deep web, including restricted websites impossible to access from web browsers like safari and chrome, makes up over 96% of the total web. Additionally, the University of California Berkeley explains that a quarter of the deep web is made up of black markets, another quarter is made up of secret government applications, a third quarter is comprised of secret organizations, and the last quarter is unknown. So what’s the impact of not knowing about 96% of all data? Well, as Professor Michael Bergman of the University of Michigan articulates, arms trade, drug trade, persons trade, hiring assassins, and child pornography all occur more easily due to the deep web. Plus, major terrorist organizations can operate without notice through the deep web. In New Jersey, Rutgers University finds that over $20 Million in illegal transactions occurred in the state in 2012 due to the existence of the deep web. Clearly, we need to act now to eradicate the endless threats.
The solution isn’t simple, but possible. First, we need to fund law enforcement on both the state and national level. We can do this by providing additional funds to state agencies like the NJ cyber crimes unit and the national cyber crimes task force to help shut down software that allows people to access deep web sites. Business Insider of March 6, 2013 finds that the only way people can access “.onion” sites, the majority of deep web sites, is through software’s that can be downloaded from the surface web. The cyber crimes units can target the shut down of these software’s as well as “.onion” sites. Next, we need to create awareness. Most Americans have never even heard about the deep web before.
Taken together, these actions can foster safer schools, keep families out of harm’s way and prevent some of the most illegal acts. We can’t allow for kids like Danny and Eric to lose their lives in the future due to the deep web.