Sometimes it seems that if you are more than 25 years old the internet is a mystery you will never understand. A small ray of light peaked through when Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson addressed the Rotary Club about the Deep Web and bitcoins.
What? You have never heard of them? At its best the Deep Web provides security and anonymity to internet users. The whistleblower or battered wife can send e-mails without fear of being traced. You can access your bank accounts without someone later being able to track the transaction back to you and damaging your account.
The Deep Web was developed by the U.S. Navel Research Labs for military use. It is funded by organizations as diverse as Google, Human Rights Watch and even the National Christian Foundation. It’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit so it is also funded by a lot of people just like you.
Because of its anonymous nature, illegal things can also be done there. Wilson listed examples of drug sales, child pornography and even a murder for hire ad for. There were chat rooms and buyer feedbacks just like e-Bay or Amazon; just for different products.
When you sit down at your computer and get on the internet an address for your computer follows the transaction. You can even go online and find out what your address is and where it is located – in Waxahachie, Texas. Using the Deep Web is different. When you go online there your search is randomly directed to one of a group of computers each of which will change your address. Then it goes to two other computers, each of which changes your address again. When your search reaches its destination there is no way to trace it back to you. In the example Wilson cited, his address had been changed from Waxahachie to the Czech Republic. By pushing a button he was able to relocate where the computer thought he was to Sweden. He could have done anything without it being traceable to his kitchen table.
Transactions in the Deep Web are paid for in the internet currency called “bitcoins.” These are a form of money which exists only on the internet. Many companies of all types accept bitcoins now. You can “mine” bitcoins then put them into your account for future use. They are unregulated and not backed by anyone or anything. If they are stolen they will not be recovered as a bank account could be. Using the Deep Web and bitcoins you could launder a lot of drug money.
This is a very simplified explanation about very complex things. There are a lot of magazine, newspaper and internet articles and analyses about them which you can access for more information. Two starting points would be an article in the Oct. 13, 2013 issue of Time Magazine and at Wikipedia on the internet. Just don’t ask me; I’m over 25 years old.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club web site www.waxahachierotary.org. Flag subscription forms can be found there.