What is the darknet? How is it related to this site, Darknet Proxy? The term darknet is broadly used to describe the myriad of websites and services that are hidden on the Internet. These hidden services are usually inaccessible to a normal browser without the use of special software such as TOR or I2P.
This website, Darknet Proxy, is like a window that allows you to peer inside the darknet. More technically, we have installed TOR and I2P on our servers and through the use of proxy software allow you to see the results. Darknet Proxy is simply a conduit to the darknet in much the same way that your local ISP is a conduit to the World Wide Web.
It is important to emphasize that none of the content viewable through Darknet Proxy is hosted or controlled by us. Anyone who has installed TOR or I2P can freely access all of the same material. In fact, we highly encourage you to do so! The more individuals that run TOR and I2P for themselves will help make the networks stronger.
The reasoning behind Darknet Proxy is rather straightforward: We believe that anonymity is crucially important, even integral to a free society and that censorship by its very nature is the antithesis of freedom and creativity.
To that purpose, the aim of Darknet Proxy is to spread awareness of the many uses of the cryptographic tools and technologies behind the darknet. Mainstream media tends to only focus on the sensational seedier parts of the darknet. While it is thrilling to speculate about undesired effects of the darknet, many legitimate uses do exist. Like anything, the anonymity and censorship resistance provided by the darknet and the technologies powering it can be used for both good and evil. It’s important to have the freedom and power to choose.
Let us take a moment and look at just a few of the many ways in which the anonymity and censorship resistance provided by the darknet is being used around the world today.
Normal People, Like You!
- They protect their privacy from unscrupulous marketers and identity thieves
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sell your Internet browsing records to marketers or anyone else willing to pay for it. ISPs typically say that they anonymize the data by not providing personally identifiable information, but this has proven incorrect. A full record of every site you visit, the text of every search you perform, and potentially userid and even password information can still be part of this data. In addition to your ISP, the websites (and search engines) you visit have their own logs, containing the same or more information.
- They protect their communications from irresponsible corporations
All over the Internet, Tor is being recommended to people newly concerned about their privacy in the face of increasing breaches and betrayals of private data. From lost backup tapes, to giving away the data to researchers, your data is often not well protected by those you are supposed to trust to keep it safe.
- They protect their children online
You've told your kids they shouldn't share personally identifying information online, but they may be sharing their location simply by not concealing their IP address. Increasingly, IP addresses can be literally mapped to a city or even street location, and can reveal other information about how you are connecting to the Internet. In the United States, the government is pushing to make this mapping increasingly precise.
- They research sensitive topics
There's a wealth of information available online. But perhaps in your country, access to information on AIDS, birth control, Tibetan culture, or world religions is behind a national firewall.
- They skirt surveillance
Even harmless web browsing can sometimes raise red flags for suspicious observers. Using Tor protects your privacy by making it extremely difficult for an observer to correlate the sites you visit with your physical-world identity.
- They circumvent censorship
If you live in a country that has ever blocked Facebook or Youtube, you might need to use Tor to get basic internet functionality.
Journalists And Their Audiences
- Reporters without Borders tracks Internet prisoners of conscience and jailed or harmed journalists all over the world. They advise journalists, sources, bloggers, and dissidents to use Tor to ensure their privacy and safety.
- Tor is part of SecureDrop, an open-source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can use to securely accept documents from and communicate with anonymous sources. Many news organizations use SecureDrop, including the Associated Press, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The CBC, ProPublica, Dagbladet, and more.
- Tor preserves the ability of people behind national firewalls or under the surveillance of repressive regimes to obtain a global perspective on controversial topics including democracy, economics and religion.
- Citizen journalists in China use Tor to write about local events to encourage social change and political reform.
- Citizens and journalists in Internet black holes use Tor to research state propaganda and opposing viewpoints, to file stories with non-State controlled media, and to avoid risking the personal consequences of intellectual curiosity.
Law Enforcement Officers
- Online surveillance
Tor allows officials to surf questionable web sites and services without leaving tell-tale tracks. If the system administrator of an illegal gambling site, for example, were to see multiple connections from government or law enforcement IP addresses in usage logs, investigations may be hampered.
- Sting operations
Similarly, anonymity allows law officers to engage in online “undercover ” operations. Regardless of how good an undercover officer's “street cred” may be, if the communications include IP ranges from police addresses, the cover is blown.
- Truly anonymous tip lines
While online anonymous tip lines are popular, without anonymity software, they are far less useful. Sophisticated sources understand that although a name or email address is not attached to information, server logs can identify them very quickly. As a result, tip line web sites that do not encourage anonymity are limiting the sources of their tips.
Activists & Whistleblowers
- Human rights activists use Tor to anonymously report abuses from danger zones. Internationally, labor rights workers use Tor and other forms of online and offline anonymity to organize workers in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even though they are within the law, it does not mean they are safe. Tor provides the ability to avoid persecution while still raising a voice.
- When groups such as the Friends Service Committee and environmental groups are increasingly falling under surveillance in the United States under laws meant to protect against terrorism, many peaceful agents of change rely on Tor for basic privacy during legitimate activities.
- Human Rights Watch recommends Tor in their report, “ Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship.” The study co-author interviewed Roger Dingledine, Tor project leader, on Tor use. They cover Tor in the section on how to breach the “Great Firewall of China,” and recommend that human rights workers throughout the globe use Tor for “secure browsing and communications.”
- Tor has consulted with and volunteered help to Amnesty International's past corporate responsibility campaign. See also their 2006 full report on China Internet issues.
- In the US, the Supreme Court recently stripped legal protections from government whistleblowers. But whistleblowers working for governmental transparency or corporate accountability can use Tor to seek justice without personal repercussions.
- Frequently we hear about bloggers who are sued or fired for saying perfectly legal things online, in their blog.
- We recommend the EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers.
- Global Voices maintains a guide to anonymous blogging with Wordpress and Tor.