white black legal international law journal ISSN: 2581-8503

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Critical Analysis Of Dark Web: Should It Be Illegal Now? by - Shivansh Singh Thakur

Critical Analysis Of Dark Web: Should It Be Illegal Now?


Authored by - Shivansh Singh Thakur,

Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur, Mouza, Wathoda layout,

Nagpur, Maharashtra 440008



The internet has connected us in ways that were never before imagined, the internet that we use is only around 10 percent, While the remaining 90% of the World Wide Web (WWW) is referred to as the "deep web," which is the component of the WWW that search engines like Google do not index, the deep web is where individuals naturally go when they don't want to be found; this may be because they have a store, in which, they are selling illegal substances. The dark web is only a minor portion of the deep web, the dark web only accounts for only about 0.01% of the deep web. To get there, you’ll have to download certain software on your computer, such as the Tor browser.

Silk Road, which was one the dark web store, which generated over 9.5 million Bitcoin in revenue, which would have been roughly twenty thousand dollars in 2017, Silk Roads total revenue in just 2 years was around 187 billion dollars, Silk Road, was the cause of the growth of the anonymous currency like bitcoin, services like selling real human organs, child pornography, are unfortunately, majorly done on the dark web, there were sites such as Lolita city and playpen, who have been taken down, but during their peaks, these sites had over 200,000 users, which discussed about the ways of abducting children from different parts of the world, discussing about how to hide them, what kind of kids they owned and things that they would do to them when no one else is around, while the dark web can be also used for providing free speech and expression and internet privacy, in India it, is legal and has no restriction, the article begins by explaining the problem of the dark web and discusses about its legal status in India and tries to understand the risk and  benefits of the dark web and should it be illegal now.


Keywords: Dark Web, Internet Privacy, World Wide Web, Bitcoin, Virtual Private Network






The internet has changed how we live, work, and play games, so no matter what your interests or beliefs are, there is something or someone who happens to share the same thought, out there, It's a place where people from all over the world can come together, and there is so much there that most of it you don't even know exists, whether it's a service or product that is legal or illegal, immoral or not, The dark web is a haven for illegal online activity and it goes much deeper than you might imagine. It's a place where criminals, predators, spies, drug and even human traffickers lie and it's all hidden in plain sight. The dark web is nothing more than a place full of websites, forums, and services that we can use but that are hidden under a layer of protection below the surface web and deep web.


The deep web, which is just a part of the world wide web (WWW) that isn't indexed by search engines like Google, is said to make up the remaining Internet and only about 10% of which is the portion we can all access and use on a daily basis. It is a common misconception that the dark web and the deep web are one and the same, While the deep web, is used when an individual does not want to be found, of which only a small portion is the dark web. They may do so because a business, they are doing in the internet, sells the aforementioned illicit substances, or it may simply be because they reside in a nation with stringent speech restrictions, .Onion websites can be found on the dark web, which can quickly be access when you have the Tor browser, as these websites are inaccessible, when using a default browser.


3 Parts of Internet

  • Surface Web: It consists of everything a person uses on a daily basis, such as YouTube, Twitter, or any social media, and is a part of the world wide web. Even though most of it is indexed by search engines like Google, it's relatively simple to find anything on the surface web. Every second, more than 1,000 photos are uploaded to Instagram, 8,000 tweets are tweeted, 70,000 Google searches occur, and almost 100,000 YouTube videos are viewed, making the surface web appear more crowded than it actually is and in a way it is in terms of pure traffic almost everything, that can be found here by looking up, which consist of finding information about something or someone and their life but what you can't find are things like their bank account or medical records as these things are hidden under password-protected websites which can only be accessible by the owner of the information

Description: Dark Web vs. Deep Web: 5 Key Differences

  • Deep Web: The internet's content that is not discovered by search engines is referred to as the "Deep Web", this is not as cool as it sounds, it's just as mundane as the surface web, it is the massive part of the Internet, which contains 96% of everything there is on the Internet so even if you've got online every single day and searched through new websites for the next 50 years you wouldn't even put a dent into the pure amount of information there is on the Internet, there's just too much to go through most of which you couldn't even get access to, but even further deeper than the deep web in the tiniest sliver of the Internet lies the part of the web where things don't leave websites that are encrypted the Hiedler existence, which are sliced without IP addresses, which makes them nearly unrecognizable and access by users with encrypted software is done for the purpose of completely mask their identities.


  • Dark Web: First of all, you should know where you’re going when you visit the dark web. In short, it’s hidden within something called the deep web. The deep web is just the part of the internet not accessible by your standard search engines, and that makes up most of the net. The dark web accounts for only about 0.01% of the deep web. To get there, you’ll have to download certain software on your computer, such as the Tor browser, Tor was invented by the US government to create anonymous communications, and today you can find journalists and activists using it as more open communication could find them in a spot of trouble. WikiLeaks, for instance, is a part of the dark web, although it also publishes on the open web. With this in mind, it’s not illegal to download some software and start using the dark web. 

What Is .Onion Routing?

Any data transferred is protected via Onion Routing by being effectively wrapped in several layers of encryption, the innermost of which contains the original message, to understand this let's say you need to get a message from A to E but in order to get that message to the end you have to go through three midpoints we'll call them  B, C and D, the message is then wrapped in three layers of encryption each layer only knows where the message previously came from and where to send it next nothing else, so the message or the data that was originally sent remains hidden and each midpoint a layer of encryption is stripped and the new layers information tells it where to send the message to next, hence after traveling through all the points, the final layer is stripped and then the message is revealed.


Data can be transferred to and from numerous locations using Soviet encryption without being vulnerable to interception in between, and no one can see only but only those who are supposed to, because of Onion Routing darknets like tor can exist, darknets operated alongside networks like the internet or requires certain software to access tor stands through the Onion Router, which is a software named after the technology that made it possible it seems just like any other normal web browser, but through tor and other similar darknets, can access web pages that aren't available in default browser and to the general public, the tools and requirements needed to access the dark web is enough to attract different types of users from all around the world links to pages don't look like youtube.com they don't look familiar whatsoever instead they tend to look like random strings of characters with .Onion at the end and if you attempt to access these websites through any traditional web browser it will not work, but when using tor it will



There are hundreds of different hidden services you can find on the dark web, you can find fake driver's licenses and passports, you can find illegal weapons, you can find drugs or etc, it’s all just like in the surface web, marketplaces are extremely popular on the dark web but using traditional forms of payment on the dark web doesn't make much sense using things such as credit cards can easily be tracked taking the anonymity of things away and could cause you in jail, for these reasons virtual currency is king this is where Bitcoin comes in due to Bitcoins almost anonymous nature, it's useful, which is why creating a Bitcoin wallet and exchange some of the cash for Bitcoin is how there is a sudden increase in demand of anonymous currency, which could help you to buy  almost whatever you want in the dark web.


Silk Road, a darknet market, in 2011, became almost synonymous with the dark web, as it made it easier to buy any illegal drug from all over the world, along with things like guns, counterfeit cash and books, but after only two years of operation the site was seized by the FBI and taken down in October 2013.


Over the course of only two years 2011 to 2013, the Silk Road generated over 9.5 million Bitcoin in revenue, if you sold these Bitcoin at the peak price of 2017, it would have been around twenty thousand dollars, Silk Roads, in just two years had the revenue of around 187 billion dollars, and was the cause of the growth in the value of Bitcoin[1], which was less than a dollar in 2011 as the dark web pretty much required the decentralized cryptocurrency, hence Bitcoin was a perfect choice.



 If a curious person who just wants to have a look around the dark web, uses it, there is always the chance he/she might walk down the wrong virtual alleyway and find himself/herself in a place they have not wished to go, which could result in

  • Being Marked – Marked as a criminal by the government
  • Being Arrested- While doing an illegal trade, you might get tracked by the hackers who have exploits your vulnerability by some software, by which thousands of people around the world have been arrested, In the U.S., the FBI won’t say how it hacks its way into the dark web, while in other countries, governments also keep their surveillance under wraps. In the U.K., the government gives its intelligence agencies something called “Bulk Powers”, which allows them to spy on people, who don’t have to submit any information to the court as to exactly how they got you.
  • Infection to the device – As accessing unidentified websites could cause your device be subject of malware infection.[2]


Even if you never visit the dark web or you didn't even know it existed it still affects you, and it is not uncommon to see data leaks and breaches pretty often, nowadays, if your data was stored in a company's database that was compromised, there's a chances for sale of your personal information, somewhere on the dark web, where it could be purchased by anyone with access to it,  there are websites leaking information of politicians, celebrities, and even normal people like you and I and there's not much you can really do about it, but even worse than this there are some even darker things that can be carried out on the dark web there are multiple hitmen services claiming to be able to kill almost anyone in the world you want for as little as $5,000, many of these have been revealed to be scams, but not all of them, there are still random people on the Internet, who trust, to carry out real murders, which is a concerning issue.


While there are services for selling real human organs, child pornography, which is unfortunately is a larger part of the dark web, there were sites such as Lolita city and playpen, who have been taken down, but during their peaks, these sites had over 200,000 users, which discussed about the ways of abducting children from different parts of the world, discussing about how to hide them, what kind of kids they owned and things that they would do to them when no one else is around. This is only a small look into this deep and dark corner of the Internet, which lacks the rules and allows anything to exist, the deeper you go the scarier things you'll find, yet  it is till funded by the United States government, which is actually astounding when you consider the reputation that the dark web has, a lot of people that have been arrested and been thrown in prison for illegal activities on the dark web, don't even seem physically threatening but if you can run a drug empire online or hire hit men, they are still a threat to society, the dark web is portrayed as the vast criminal underground where millions of the worst people in society lurk, which is claimed to be around two to ten thousand, while less than six percent of people, use tor which is less than 120,000 people out of billions of people, which is just a drop of water in the ocean.



While the darkest parts of the web have its flaw it has some benefits such as: -

  • Provide Freedom of Speech and Expression: - The dark web offers a haven where no censorship exists, allowing people to speak freely about and report on important topics without fear of being silenced or even physical threats, several of the largest news networks operate on the dark web, there are still nations around the world that censor Internet content that has been deemed to be offensive by a higher power, usually governments.
  • Internet Privacy: - The dark web provides people with a way to regain their privacy and anonymity although whether they choose to do so in a positive or harmful way is up to them.
  • Drug for Medication: - While most of the medications offered on the dark web are illegal, they can have some beneficial purposes. If you live somewhere where they aren't offered, you can easily buy them on the dark web.


The dark web is not illegal in India, as it is considered to be the part of the internet that a person uses and is covered under the Indian constitution provision of article 21 that guarantees the right to access the internet which is part and partial of the right to life with dignity, also Article 19(1)(a) which is the fundamental right of free speech and expression, which will be infringed if a person is stopped from accessing the internet, Despite the fact that cybercrimes in India are covered by the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Indian Penal Code 1860, which punishes the illegal sale and purchase of drugs and weapons like guns and pistols, also it prohibits and punishes for the offence of child pornography, which is also covered under section 67B of the IT Act 2000. In 2017, the Mumbai Anti-Narcotics Cell arrested so many people for accessing the dark web, who were involved in the purchase and sale of the illegal drug in India, which were made through using the dark web.

India lacks to have a stringent law for the protection from the cybercrime and to protect the interest of its people and does not mention anything about the Virtual Private Network (VPN), which is used to establish a protected connection while using the public network, which is banned in Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Belarus, while UAE only the banking institutions have the right to use the VPN, and in China and Russia, only authorised personnel have the right to use VPN.



While the FBI governments and much of the public beliefs that ‘Silk Road’ had vastly negative effects on the world, Ross Ulbricht, founder of the ‘Silk Road’, thought otherwise of doing the world a service rather than the violence that can result from the trading and dealing of illegal drugs, he stated that “Silk Road provided a safer more genuine experience which brought opportunity to the masses and protected people as opposed to putting them at risk” but despite his apparent peaceful and non-harming nature, he was one who actually used these hitmen services on the dark web, in attempts to have six different people killed, The dark web doesn't necessarily have to be a bad place; it's only scary if you're looking for things you don't want to see; you can't always get rid of them, but you can't avoid them. There are certain things that the average person should just not see if he/she don't wish to fall victim to this, but if you're getting into this, you aren't leaving.

In the context of India, its need a well-equipped and trained officer, who have an experience in the field of the cybercrime as there are provisions for punishment of the offender who commit child pornography, illegal trade through the dark web, but it is necessary to protect the privacy of the citizen of India and to have control over the use of the dark web for illegal activities and to prevent crimes from taking place through the dark web.

Hence the dark web should still be legal in India but with some restriction to avoid misuse and to have control over the cybercrimes.





[1] David Adler, Silk Road: The Dark Side of Cryptocurrency, Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law, (Dec. 26, 2022, 9:45 AM)  

[2] Investigating The Dark Web, Salvation Data, (Dec. 27, 2022, 4:24 PM)



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