Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Social Media and DarkNet for Police | Topic Guide: DarkNet

A topical bibliography developed for use by law enforcement


The World Wide Web is widely used by millions of people for entertainment, news, communications and other uses.  Known as the Surface web, sites found by web-crawling browsers such as Yahoo, Google, or Bing  comprise only a small part of the web.  Many of these sites contain information that is not searchable by the traditional browser.  This information contained within websites that is not searchable by the traditional browser  is known as the Deep Web.

The Deep Web consists of those sites readily reached by standard browsers, but in-depth data and information is restricted by subscription and.or payment requirements, passwords, accounts, etc.  A journal publisher's site that charges or requires a subscription to read articles is an example of the Deep Web.  Another example of the Deep Web is online banking.  One can reach the bank's site, but  access is only granted if one has an account and logon. The Deep Web is also home to the DarkNet.

The DarkNet is comprised of websites whose IP addresses have been hidden or obscured by an encryption tool.  These sites cannot be found using ordinary search engines, Google, Chrome, Bing, etc.  Tor and I2P are two common encryption tools which can be readily downloaded from the surface or open internet to search the DarkNet.  The DarkNet is home to many nefarious sites offering illegal drugs, weapons and criminal enterprises as well as many hoaxes and scams, but also serves more benign purposes such as anonymity for whistle blowers and dissidents, secure file sharing and messaging, and intelligence gathering.