Using the deep web is a bit like crossing over to the dark side (well, dark web), suddenly all the rules and that govern your normal everyday web experience cease to exist and you find yourself in a virtual environment where anything you want, however sick or illegal, can be obtained. It's a scary place.
I'm sure most of us have heard of the deep web and how it's a place where, once you download the Tor software that enables you to anonymously lurk in its recesses that are beyond the reach of standard search engines (and the FBI), you can buy drugs, guns and all kind of sick and twisted illegal stuff.
Motherboard venture into these murky corners of the internet to find out what's there, what exactly it is, if it is real and not just a massive hoax that draws media interest, who uses it, and try to discover how easy it was to buy illegal products.
Welcome to the "dark net", an unregulated space being used to a large extent to engage in illegal activity, discuss child abuse, search for information on censored topics, organize political action and, more and more, to buy and sell weapons and controlled substances. Of course, by sheer virtue of the dark net's anonymity it's difficult to be certain just who, exactly, you are communicating with, and to what degree offers and posts on various platforms and forums translate from the digital underbelly to the actual physical world.
VICE Germany editor Tom Littlewood went looking for where these two spheres come together. In Darknet, Tom speaks to a German weapons dealer about sales and distribution, and about how easy and reliable the system even is. Tom also catches up with cryptology specialist Karsten Nohl, torservers.net founder Moritz Bartl, and Ehsan Norouzi, an Iranian journalist who helps activists communicate safety, on the positive and negative aspects of a virtual space.
The casual nature of the people Tom meets is slightly unnerving and makes you realize that for some people, this is an arena they feel comfortable and at home in. Be afraid people, Be very afraid.