I have never actually used Tor or gotten on the “deep web” but I am somewhat familiar with how it works based on some articles I have read. It sounds like there is some interesting stuff on there that might be cool to check it out, but up until this point I have been too paranoid to try it out due to fear of accidentally stumbling across something illegal. Outside of Silk Road, which was recently shut down, the main site I hear people talking about is Hidden Wiki. Now I know that this site contains links to and text describing various illegal services, which I can simply avoid, but I am not sure if it actually contains illegal material itself (i.e. images of underage people). It is one thing to read about illegal activities, but I just don’t want to see any pictures or videos of child abuse. So I guess my question is this…is the Hidden Wiki itself safe to browse as long as you don’t go to any links that lead to external sites? I am not going to purposely go to anything that sounds sketchy, but you never know what kind of messed up stuff could pop up on a webpage. Also, would it be good to disable images just to be extra safe?
The wiki itself seems generally pretty safe. From what I remember, and actually I just checked it using a tor2web proxy, the CP stuff is conveniently sequestered in its own category.
As for whether it’s “safe”, well, really that just depends on how many enemies you have. If you’re a curious teenager nobody is likely to give a damn. If you start becoming an enemy of the state, chances are they’ll nab you sooner or later and probably stick child porn allegations on you even if you took every possible precaution to avoid it. The public’s not going to care about the details – what’s this darknet stuff? Oh, it’s that thing for druggies and pedophiles, right?
Also, the Hidden Wiki isn’t really like the wikipedia in that it’s not a repository of knowledge unto itself, it’s just a bunch of links to other sites. So you’re not going to get a whole lot out of it unless you are actually willing to look at the other links.
And by virtue of these services’ peer to peer nature, chances you are at going to get encrypted child porn traveling through your system even without you knowing it, because that’s how the distributed routing works. Not sure if that bothers you or if there are legal issues surrounding that where you live.
I think you should go in with the assumption that there is no such thing as true anonymity on the internet, only a matter of how many layers you can hide behind, for how long, before an authority with enough power decides to come after you.
To expand on that, the Hidden Wiki and a couple of other .onion directory sites are really just throwbacks to the very earliest days of the World Wide Web. Back before Google, before Altavista, you had a version of Yahoo in which actual people manually posted links with descriptions of sites. If you wanted a site about nuclear physics, you followed links from science to physics and then browsed their list of thirty research labs.
I looked into the .onion sites back when someone was talking about how Tor would free Libya and become the future of revolution, news and politics, etc. all unhindered by Big Brother. Alas, I couldn’t find a link anywhere to “LibyanRebels.onion.”