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Is it illegal to be on the Dark Web?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2022 | Criminal law

Most people have heard of the Dark Web. It’s got a reputation for being the place to go to find or participate in planning all sorts of nefarious – and illegal – activity. That reputation is not unfounded. 

Researchers have found that over half of the websites there involve criminal activity. That includes money laundering, drugs, weapons, stolen credentials, child pornography, sex trafficking, hate crimes, terrorism and murder for hire.

How do you get to the Dark Web?

Basically, those who go on the Dark Web have to use a browser called Tor. They also use masked IP addresses to help ensure their anonymity. The sites there aren’t searchable with traditional internet search engines. Those who purchase goods or services typically use cryptocurrency, which helps keep their activity anonymous.

What kind of activity is illegal?

It’s not illegal in this country to simply be on a website on the Dark Web. In fact, some major media outlets use them for things like anonymous tips or highly sensitive information. Resistance movements in authoritarian countries sometimes use them to communicate plans. The Arab Spring was largely planned there. Journalists, scholars and researchers sometimes use it as well.

If you get involved in some kind of criminal activity, that’s when you’re looking at legal consequences – potentially very serious ones. State and federal law enforcement agencies have gotten better at identifying people who engage in illegal activity there. Some people have made things easier for law enforcement by having illegal purchases sent to them via traditional mail.

If you are arrested for alleged involvement in criminal activity that originated on the Dark Web, it’s crucial that you take the matter seriously and seek legal guidance before speaking to any law enforcement authorities. The kinds of crimes planned and carried out via the Dark Web can ruin your life and your future.