Crazy things you can buy on the Dark Web, Exploring the dark web is just as legal as exploring the surface web and all anonymizing browsers are free to download, with no secret password or club required.
What gets tricky is determining what actions are illegal, and usually, ignorance is not a good defence in this case, since users have to take very specific actions to (a) download the anonymizing browser and (b) do the illegal activity.
The most common illegal activities on the deep web are fairly self-explanatory and predictable:
1. Downloading new movies, software, or music
“Torrenting” multimedia that is still being sold legally is highly illegal. Unless the creator gives the public permission to download (usually a small developer or new musician trying to go viral) the content should not be downloaded. Over 98% of all Torrent downloads are for illegally acquired movies, software, TV shows, and music.
Many people do this even on the regular deep or surface web and are simply ignorant of their law-breaking or correctly figuring they probably won’t get caught.
Users who break the law in this regard avoid detection by checking their downloading speed and size and making sure it’s not too high, as this may get noticed by authorities.
2. Enjoying and storing extreme pornography
You can probably find questionable pornography on the surface web, or perhaps the deep
web—such as incest, bestiality, or (fake) rape videos. Some countries prohibit violent pornography.
In the United States, for example, federal laws do not prohibit animal pornography but state laws may be applied to producers and performers of such videos. However, it is usually not considered a crime to watch “questionable” pornography, especially considering the difficulty of obtaining a police warrant to search exclusively for bestiality porn.
On the other hand…enjoying child pornography is highly illegal and a major risk, because law enforcement, at the federal and state levels, is constantly searching for pedophiles and finding new ways to catch them in a cyber-crime.
Child pornography, whether violent in nature, sexually explicit, or even supposedly “innocent” is considered highly illegal and can lead to prison sentences if authorities find evidence on your computer of consistent downloading, storing, and viewing of these shocking images.
Child porn is specially targeted by police because it is a form of human trafficking and buying into the market for these images and videos only helps to further kidnapping, sexual exploitation of minors, and other means of coercion.
Many people surfing the Darknet stumble upon child pornography sites by accident and then wonder if they’ve committed a crime in doing so.
Accidentally viewing an offensive picture and then quickly leaving the site is certainly not on the same level as accidentally seeing an image and then seeking out more images—perhaps even storing said images on a computer.
Police will search for this trail of evidence when invading an accused person’s home with a warrant. It’s hard to press charges for accidentally viewing one image by accident (and promptly deleting all history)—but it’s easy to make a case against a pedophile who collects many images and videos.
Some forms of victimless extreme erotica (such as text-only stories involving children or cartoon depictions of underage sex) may not be considered universally illegal and may actually be accessible on the regular deep web, or even some pornographic surface websites.
However, there have been cases of individuals being sued or arrested for accidentally taking pictures of animated child sex into the public eye and the image was later discovered. This is why many surface websites will not publish questionable content, because the practice may violate some state laws.
The easiest way to avoid legal problems is to NOT click on any site that offers links to CP or Child Porn (since clicking on the link would imply intent to view in court) and to immediately leave any site that shows child porn.
3. Real Murder
So-called snuff videos, whether they are real or fake, sound highly disturbing and some users have claimed to have found these videos from obscure deep web links. The legality of viewing these videos is questionable, if not as concrete as that of child pornography. For example, some surface web videos show real-life depictions of savage murders and it would not be considered illegal to view them.
However, if the police raided your home and found virtual libraries full of darknet-acquired snuff videos, it may not bode well for you—at the very least it might paint you as a terrorist suspect. If it could be proven that you chatted with others or interacted in some way with the murderer in real-time, or assisted in someone’s death, a case could certainly be made, if authorities chose to investigate.
Most people who view these videos suffer from some minor form of PTSD (Posttraumatic stress disorder) afterward, so regardless, it’s certainly not advised.
4. Sharing or viewing confidential files
This is another avenue that’s hard to classify, but if it became known that you willfully viewed, stored, or shared confidential files with the public, or among friends, you could theoretically be sued or arrested for hacking crimes, or worse yet, meet the same fate as Julian Assange or Edward Snowden.
Some well-known companies have had confidential records exposed publicly by anonymous hackers, such as the Ashley Madison website.
Viewing these records would not necessarily be illegal, since they do not involve malicious intent. On the other hand, supporting stalking websites or identity theft websites would certainly demonstrate willful criminal intent.
5. Committing certain Bitcoin-related actions
Bitcoins themselves are not illegal but many things that people buy using Bitcoins can be illegal, from drugs to hookers to weapons. Manipulating currency or fraudulent schemes involving Bitcoins is also highly illegal. Making income from Bitcoin but not reporting it to the IRS is also illegal. Anything to do with creating a new credit report or any financial fraud would likewise be a huge risk.
6. Hiring hit men and other human trafficking
While it’s doubtful some of the assassins online are real (would they really advertise it and risk getting caught?) it is still illegal to hire someone for murder, or for any form of human trafficking. It’s not necessarily illegal to view these websites but highly illegal to order from them.
Most of them are probably scam artists who simply create a sensational web page and then accept your bitcoin money. After all, if the murderer decides he doesn’t want to do the job after getting your money who are you honestly going to complain to? The urban legend goes that the hitmen for hire will key anyone who is of legal age and who isn’t “top 10” famous.
There have also been rumored to be science experiment websites, which broadcast footage of animal or human experimentation. Some of these are said to be interactive, with paying users able to decide the level and degree of torture. While these sites are not commonly found, do keep in mind they would be rather easy to fake, as there are many movies selling footage of “death” that have been debunked as staged, such as the Faces of Death series.
7. Buying drugs or illegal weaponry
Interacting with drug stores on the Darknet is illegal and these transactions oftentimes lead to customers getting caught by police. Automatic weapons are also offered at some of these stores, as well as confidential financial records. The follow-up of postage mail coinciding with the online order is sometimes what exposes these careless users.
There are of course many grey areas in deep and dark web surfing; many users describe strange forums and websites they have uncovered, from slave trading to child trading or supposed “cannibal forums”, which would seem illegal in theory, (or at least the actions described would be illegal).
However, viewing these strange pages would probably not constitute a crime. Obviously, if you start to uncover disturbing details or images, use your own discretion in determining if such content might be illegal or sadistic in nature, and then leave for the sake of your somewhat innocent mind.
8. Strange Forums
Forums on the surface web have fairly tight regulations as to what can be said or shared about a person’s private life. Not so with forums on the darknet which may include all sorts of strange support groups from illegal adoption (offering a child for trade or sale) or even mothers who have lost their fetuses and wish to share photographs.
Cannibal cafes are also around, though it’s likely that these violent forums — as well as many others like them, exist primarily as a means of fantasy exchange. Some users simply like to imagine themselves as murderers for their own aggrandizing purposes, and no surface web forum in their right mind would allow them to publish their unfiltered thoughts.
Viewing these forums is probably not illegal per se, so as long as no one posts illegal photos. However, they may be very disturbing if you’re only used to watching fairly normal people interact on Facebook.
It’s not as far-fetched that you might meet a professional “illegal contractor” on the deep web, since the criminal activity is far more common and profitable than murder, which seems rather extreme.
For example, prostitutes outside Nevada (the non-escort variety) may have pages on the deep web, where they can explicitly talk about their services. This would be in violation of the guidelines of any surface website, and so the deep web would be a haven for that. With Craigslist banning escort ads a while back, it’s reasonable to believe prostitutes might be hiding on the deep web with more explicit advertised services.
10. Hackers and Cyber Criminals
Likewise, hackers and black hat SEO quasi-professionals may advertise their services here, as there are many hackers who can recover money, take down popular websites, steal financial information, and engage in all sorts of shenanigans. Some contractors might offer to install malware for a price or develop spyware that is against the law.
11. Surface Websites Posing as Deep Web Sites
Here’s something else you might find, ridiculous websites claiming to offer knowledge on summoning demons. All of this stuff, as well as Illuminati documents, are (hopefully?) fake and the embarrassing truth is you could probably find them on the surface web as most publishers and hosts don’t really care what wacky religious ideas you preach, so as long as no pedophilia is involved.
While it may not be entirely legal to advertise your house and look for roommates, at a deep website like Grabhouse that’s basically what you get—though you could probably find broker-free living accommodations on Craigslist as well.
12. Strange Video Games
Perhaps the most documented “Dark Web Video Game” is that of Sad Satan. This was a rather esoteric RPG game with somewhat dated graphics, but one that raised controversy when people began speculating it was some sort of pedophilia-inspired game. Some users claim the video game is on the deep web and it’s been altered to include child porn images or footage of real death. However, most of the footage you can find of it on YouTube only contains strange photos and a somewhat incoherent narrative.
While not every game sounds as menacing as Sad Satan, if you look long enough you’re bound to run into something bizarre and unsettling.
13. Legal Professionals Without Ethics
Lastly, there are unconfirmed reports of doctors, lawyers, customs officials, and otherwise legal professionals who can be bought for illegal purposes. For example, discreet doctors can perform illegal late-term abortions in certain states. Or, crooked police officers that can arrange a hit.
Much of this is unproven and hearsay, though it’s certainly not out of the question that favours can be bought.
If you really want to take a risk, you can always hire a non-certified professional, such as a quack doctor, to perform a high-risk operation. This isn’t too far-fetched of a story, considering that there are probably plenty of doctors, lawyers, and professors who are not authorized to practice their speciality by law but still want to make extra money.
Here’s one you might not have thought about: exotic pets. It’s illegal to own certain wild animals in most jurisdictions. So why not order that lion of the deep web?
What You Probably Won’t Find on the Deep Web
Sorry to break your heart, but so-called top secret files of governments admitting shocking conspiracies or real Illuminati footage would be next to impossible to discover, or would be hoaxes. The simple reason is that if such top-secret meetings were taking place, they would likely not be recorded by anyone and shared on an obscure deep web URL.
Wikileaks may well be the most cutting-edge website publishing controversial news leaks and it has gained notoriety for its accuracy. More obscure sites could easily doctor photos or even makeup National Enquirer-like headlines that have no basis in fact. You can certainly uncover some interesting gossip about people, places, and things on the Dark Web… but then again, some of this content is just as easily available on the surface web on a site like Reddit, because hearsay is not that controversial.
User posts on the Deep Web or surface web may occasionally refer to stories being suppressed by the traditional media because of the threat of scandal or even libel. No traditional news website wants to risk a lawsuit by going against the grain. In like manner, banned videos, as well as porn that is classified as “revenge porn” and thus illegal for most surface websites, could be more easily accessed on the darknet.
Supposedly a Level 5 exists on the darknet somewhere, which could reveal super top secret information like “Tesla’s experiments”, the location of Atlantis, CIA secrets, or the legendary Mariana’s Web, named after the deepest ocean trench. Mariana’s Web has been called the Internet equivalent of the Vatican archives, a mysterious holy grail of knowledge.
Another bizarre theory is that Mariana’s Web is a superintelligent AI (female of course) that has become self-aware and now overlooks the Internet as some type of God-like being. Here’s the kicker: to access this VIP information would require something called Polymeric Falcighol Derivation, which necessitates using a quantum computer, which doesn’t yet exist.
What you might actually find on the Deep Web are a bunch of trolls who claim to know something, or have seen something, but do not actually provide any proof—sort of like the ordinary deep web or the surface web.
Here’s a new thought courtesy of WIRED, which sought to debunk prevalent Deep Web myths. A review from the Internet Watch Foundation discovered that of all 30,000+ URLs that contained child pornography, only 0.2 percent were hosted on the dark web.
In terms of banned books, the first amendment protects against the banishment of books that are controversial in nature—even though publishing companies like Amazon exercise their right to censor far more often. Even so, censorship 2.0 still exists in a form, and it is usually by way of suppressing books by threats of litigation or dismissing legitimate suppositions as conspiracy theories. In this manner, there are “banned books” on the deep web—perhaps books that traditional publishing houses didn’t wish to publish for legal reasons. Perhaps even books that no independent website wants to host for fear of being sued, like “How to Cook Humans” or “How to Make a Bomb” or something similarly macabre.
So yes, books are banned but not for obscenity—just for the far more real threat of libel.
How Do You Report Illegal Activity on Darknet?
Let’s say after surfing the darknet for days on end you finally hit the motherlode: a real snuff murder site! You’re appalled and disgusted. What do you do? Your first instinct is to call the police right?
Not a great idea, since by the time you actually call the police and get them to come over and look at the computer that site might be long gone. Furthermore, just because a site is accessible for the time being
doesn’t mean it’s traceable. Local law enforcement is only interested in an emergency; meaning you are in immediate danger, not someone halfway across the world.
What about the option to report the site to the FBI? This is much easier to do when it’s on the surface web. On the darknet, it’s the most complicated. Most illegal sites are well hidden with proxy servers and may only be accessed with a referral address and password, not a search or regular link listing.
Believe that the FBI is aware of these types of sites existing and they do occasionally find publishers and distributors and seize their servers when they get enough evidence to charge someone. The problem is these sites are very difficult to locate and it’s not just a matter of gathering a URL. All you can control is your own actions, so make a conscious effort not to view anything illegal, or inadvertently support human trafficking by encouraging their activities.