Shawn Wasson at The News Junkie describes his journey into the other Internet:
The Internet has evolved quite a bit since I first logged on to CompuServe in 1994. I’d spent a few years tooling around on BBS (Bulletin Board Systems) connections throughout the country at that point and the most visible portions of a forming World Wide Web were quite innocent in appearance. But as I ramped up my father’s 4600 baud modem and looked around at the fringes of online existence, I unknowingly caught a glimpse at the Web’s early underbelly. From there, pornography, craziness and illegal activities were easily accessible. There weren’t many people logging on so, naturally, there weren’t many people to police this new digital space. Eventually, as AOL, Prodigy and other ISPs became more mainstream, the more nefarious outlets vanished into the shadows. But where did it all go? I recently took a plunge into the ‘Deep Web,’ a sub-surface area of the Internet not indexed by search engines and only available to those on the forefront of technology, namely people connected to the Tor Network. This network of hidden websites is the new underbelly of the Web, the New Underground, if you will, chock full of all sorts of illicit activities. Child porn peddlers, drug dealers, hitmen and other criminal groups thrive on the Deep Web and anonymity reigns supreme. The following post outlines my findings and hopefully sheds some light on the true Wild Wild West of the World Wide Web.
So if the Internet as you know it is an iceberg, the smallest part of that iceberg, the visible portion, is where you have been surfing your entire life. You visit websites, click links, use search engines to research topics of interest and generally just make your way around the visible Web. But below that visible portion, there is a much larger compilation of destinations beyond the reach of most Internet users. This portion, the Deep Web, is much harder for the average person to access and even harder to navigate. Much of the criminal activity that happens on the Deep Web is cloaked in anonymity, shrouded in secrecy or somehow hidden from the prying eyes that would love to put an end to this virtual land of OZ. Essentially what I’m saying is this: You may be familiar with the Internet, maybe even the darker side of the Internet. You may know how to find pornography for free, download music illegally, use a torrent program to download pirated movies and other media or purchase prescription pills from some online pharmacy. But if you haven’t visited the Deep Web, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Sure, there are research papers and legitimate and interesting pieces of content to view on The Other Side but there’s also some pretty nefarious happenings there.
[Full Article at The News Junkie]