The dark net is that part of the internet that is hidden from the usual browsers that we use. To get to it, one can use what is called the TOR browser that protects your anonymity by rerouting your information through multiple encrypted sites so that you cannot be traced. TOR stands for The Onion Router and has nothing to do with the satirical website. If you are like me, you have heard about this router and the dark web but have never tried to access either.
Jamie Bartlett is an investigative reporter who has explored the dark web and in 2015 published a book The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld.
In a highly informative and entertaining TED talk, Bartlett describes what he found. He says that in many ways, the dark net is surprisingly familiar and banal, except that you can access and buy things that are illegal. The dark net is also increasingly hosting sites that offer goods and services that are perfectly legal but where the people want to remain anonymous, like whistleblowers. Bartlett says that the dark net is going mainstream and predicts that, because of the violations of privacy on the standard internet, soon most of us will be using it to avoid being snooped on by governments and others. This is ironic since TOR started as a US naval intelligence project.