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Does Kiddie Porn On The Dark Web Make Tor Illegal?

Kiddie Porn on the Tor Browser

The term “dark web” lends itself to appear synonymous with “bad place.” You can access kiddie porn and buy drugs on Tor; does that make the service illegal?

People use Tor Browser to maintain online anonymity. Every month, news outlets run stories about individuals buying drugs and firearms on the dark web.  Most of them use Tor Browser to score big on black markets.

Tor Browser is an internet browser much like the well-known ones with which you are familiar.  Chrome and Safari both use established protocols to display web pages that you view on your computer. The same is true for mobile devices.

Popular browsers connect you (the client) to websites (the server) using core technology developed between 1960 and 1983.  In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. From that point forward, giant organizations formed to develop and maintain networks of computers known as the Internet. Their job? Regulate the type of content available to clients, create a secure global network, increase the accessibility of information, and make money.

Sounds noble, right?

The problem with this paradigm is that you, the consumer, lose a lot of your rights to privacy in the process. While giant corporations learn a ton about you, you’re left in the dark.

Internet companies like Google record your movements online to generate data that is used for targeted advertising. Well, what’s wrong with that?

Let’s say you want to find unbiased information about a given subject. If that subject is unpopular, you may have a hard time finding real sources using search engines that rank results based on the interests of the status quo.

Or maybe the thought of the government watching your every move online is just plain creepy. Aren’t you entitled to think about and search for whatever your mind finds interesting?

Tor Browser allows users to keep their search history private.  It is run by a non-profit organization and largely maintained by volunteers.  Since Tor Browser does not use the same technology as popular browsers, it is able to create hidden services using the .onion domain extension.

The Evil Side of Tor

Of course, this anonymity is precisely why some individuals choose to access the dark web for activity classified as criminal by governments worldwide. It is harder to get caught. The hidden wiki, a directory that links to some (but not nearly all) of the services to which you have access, demonstrates the variety of websites that are available using Tor Browser.

Types of Hidden Services Available on Tor
Photo: Hidden Wiki

Yeah, you can download kiddie porn using Tor Browser.  You can even find websites selling stolen credit card information. You can hire hitmen, order counterfeit passports, and read guides on how to commit suicide.

Should you order a fake passport? Probably not. Is it a good idea to have your boss assassinated because she’s ridiculous? No.

Tor Browser isn’t all about doomsday glory. The Tor network allows brave journalists in oppressive regimes to get the truth out about violations of human rights. It lets everyday people discuss top secret topics freely. Tor lets you collaborate on fresh technologies or ground-breaking ideas with your business partners, knowing that competitors cannot infiltrate your online discussions.

Anonymity Matters

Above all, Tor cultivates a climate of privacy that empowers the individual in an age where the advancement of technology is outpacing humanity’s ability to monitor potential encroachments on our basic rights as consumers.

Yes, people do stupid shit on the dark web. But when is that not the case anywhere under any circumstance? One could argue that people will always do stupid shit — maybe that’s just human nature?

The bottom line is this: as long as you are not caught for using the Tor Browser for illegal activity, then you cannot be prosecuted in a court of law for using Tor Browser in and of itself.

The Guardian Project Maintains An Android App That Uses Tor
Photo: Guardian Project

If online privacy and anonymity are important to you, there are great technologies on the market right now.

The Guardian Project extends the functionality of the technology known as Tor.  The company maintains the Android app Orbot, allowing consumers concerned with privacy to use Tor on their smartphones. The Guardian Project also creates several useful apps that secure your privacy and anonymity online.

New apps that place privacy first are constantly in development for your smartphone. These allow you to discuss whatever you want with whomever.

If you are just beginning to explore the dark web, remember, the actions you decide to take while using the Tor Browser determine the legality of your particular situation.  DO NOT attempt to use the Tor Browser to buy narcotics, surf kiddie porn, or access websites that are illegal in your jurisdiction without a strong technical understanding of how your internet-enabled device accesses other networks.

In fact, if you are using Tor to access websites with child pornography, you might want to found a counselor before you end up ostracized publicly forever.

After all, since power differences between adults and children limit a child’s ability to say no, sexual activity with younguns is never okay. Remember, coercion does not equal consent, whether you’re anonymous or not.

Cory Caaz
Web Designer | Poet | Entrepreneur | Writer
https://www.junkiejournal.com

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