‘The so-called ‘Deep Web’ is the hidden and anonymous underbelly of the Internet. From hits for hire to buying drugs and even people, it has become a black market bazaar for crime. And while privacy advocates say the Deep Web may be fulfilling our worst fears, it also may be fulfilling the original promise of free speech on the Internet. Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reports from Chicago (6 Jan 2014)’.
More than three months ago the Daily Mail reported that the ‘Deep Web has existed for more than a decade but came under the spotlight last month [i.e. September 2013 after police shutdown the Silk Road website – the online marketplace dubbed the “eBay of drugs” – and arrested its creator. But experts warn this has done next to nothing to stem the rising tide of such illicit online exchanges, which are already jostling to fill the gap now left in this unregulated virtual world. So for those looking to bump off a difficult acquaintance, all they have to do is enter the Deep Web – known also as the “Dark Web” or the “Undernet” – and search “hitman for hire”. There they are presented with lists of willing assassins touting their wares to anyone who will pay. And like The Silk Road, transactions are all made using the mysterious online currency Bitcoin. One site, whose name MailOnline has chosen not to publish, offers an assassination in the US or Canada for $10,000 and one in Europe for $12,000. “I do not know anything about you, you do not know anything about me”, crows one self-styled assassin, according to The Daily Dot. “The desired victim will pass away. No one will ever know why or who did this. On top of that I always give my best to make it look like an accident or suicide . . . Many of the sites even use slogans and marketing techniques that, if it weren’t for their macabre subject matter, could be as at home on the website of a legitimate retail website. “The best place to put your problems is in a grave”, boasts one. Some even seem to offer others the chance to profit from their killing by allowing users to bet on when a victim will die by putting money in a pool. The closest guess takes home the pot. And while many appear every inch the cold-blooded killer one would expect from a gun-for-hire, there is also apparently the odd humanitarian hitman. “Killing is in most cases wrong, yes”, writes one. “However, as this is an inevitable direction in the technological evolution, I would rather see it in the hands of me than somebody else. By providing it cheaply and accurately I hope that more immoral alternatives won’t be profitable or trusted enough. This should primarily be a tool for retribution”. Adding that murder should always be committed for “good reason”, he writes: “Bad reasons include doctors for performing abortions and Justin Bieber for making annoying music”. The Silk Road’s creator, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested last month after allegedly hiring an undercover FBI agent to murder a member of the site who was apparently blackmailing him. He allegedly also tried to have an employee killed who he thought might blow his identity to police. Meanwhile, even as the Silk Road was trundling to a halt, already hundreds of other websites were springing up in its place, peddling anything from drugs to stolen identities, illegal weapons to sickening child pornography and even explosives. In June  it emerged one such site, called Atlantis, was even offering its wares in an advert posted on YouTube’.
On YouTube, GeekBlogTV presents this: ‘Let’s take a journey into what experts are calling “The Deep Web”. In this episode, I will show you what that term means, and how to get there, and I give a bit of a description of what you might find (17 Nov 2012)’.
 “The disturbing world of the Deep Web, where contract killers and drug dealers ply their trade on the internet” The Daily Mail (11 October 2013). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2454735/The-disturbing-world-Deep-Web-contract-killers-drug-dealers-ply-trade-internet.html.