You’ve probably heard about the Dark Web, but you may not be sure exactly what it is. If you aren’t, it can be possible to get caught up in it – and the illegal activity it hides – without fully realizing it.
The Dark Web refers to sites on the internet that aren’t searchable or accessible to just anyone because they’re encrypted. People who access them are able to remain anonymous through this encryption. Payments for anything that’s purchased on the Dark Web are typically made using cryptocurrency, which adds another layer of anonymity.
What kind of activity occurs on the Dark Web?
In the U.S., the Dark Web is typically associated with illegal activity, including sex trafficking, illegal drugs and weapons, child pornography, terrorism, hate crimes, murder-for-hire, blackmail and counterfeit goods. In some authoritarian countries, however, it’s a place where dissidents can communicate and plan with less fear of being discovered.
Just browsing a site on the Dark Web isn’t in itself a crime. However, it’s too easy to get ensnared in some of the criminal activity being done there. Law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have become more adept at finding and identifying people engaged in Dark Web crimes through technology. Some people actually use the U.S. Postal Service to complete transactions arranged on the Dark Web, which makes them easier to find.
If you’re under investigation or facing charges for alleged crimes that originated on the Dark Web, it’s imperative that you take the matter seriously. Whatever the circumstances, even an accusation can have long-term consequences to your freedom, finances and reputation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide valuable guidance and help.