Review of 'The Dark Net'

The Dark Net by Jamie Bartlett

the_dark_net.jpg A few years ago the “Dark Net” became a bit of a hot topic with tales of all the evil things that are done there. In “The Dark Net” investigative reporter Jamie Bartlett travels to various dark corners of the Internet to see what actually lurks there and what he finds might surprise you.

The “Introduction” starts with a history of the Internet and why the dark net was founded in the first place. To be clear, here the “Dark Net” does not always refer to the “Dark Web” accessed via TOR but rather the dark or more sinister aspects of the Internet. In the first chapter “Unmasking the Trolls” Bartlett goes into the world of “4chan” where pretty much anything goes and suicide is encouraged, in “The Lone Wolf” he talks about fringe groups given a voice in the Internet, “Into Galt's Gulch” deals with cryptocurrency, “Three Clicks” talks about navigation in the Dark Web in Tor Hidden Services, “On the Road” concerns the illegal drug trade while “Lights, Web-camera, Action” is all about “cam shows” where you can watch live sex shows and “The Werther Effect” concerns the pro-anorexia and pro-bulimia chat boards. He concludes with “Zoltan vs Zerzan” which talks about “Zoltan” a man who wants to live forever LITERALLY and “Zerzan” who wants to live forever VIRTUALLY.

“The Dark Net” is a highly interesting read taking us to areas that we do not normally frequent with an insight that they are not quite what we might expect. Here we find entrepreneur and professionalism seldom seen in our normal world. It is populated by people with passion and deep humanity despite their often doing BOTH illegal AND legal things. It is a world of shades of grey, much like our own. Often deeply disturbing, Bartlett does not sensationalize what he finds but simply reports what he sees (see the extensive footnotes at the end of the book) with a modicum of commentary positing theories on how this all rationalises with the “real” world.

The Dark Net: Not quite what you might expect. Enter with caution.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-02-26

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publisher: Windmill

Publication Date: 2015

ISBN: 9780099592020