NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

Photo by William Heinemann for Wired


There’s a side to the Internet most people have never visited. Tor Hidden Services, or the Tor Network, is an encrypted, hidden network of about 50,000 websites that can’t be accessed with a traditional browser like Chrome or Firefox. Its users include criminals, trolls and extremists. Author Jamie Bartlett (pictured, above), who chronicles the secret corners of the Internet in his book The Dark Net, likens it to the “wild West.” “You have anonymous users visiting sites that can’t be censored. So anybody with something to hide, whether it’s for Darknet_good reasons or for ill, finds a very natural home there,” Bartlett tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. Bartlett first became involved with the Tor Network, which some users refer to as “the darknet,” when he was researching the online components of radical social and political movements. Gradually his investigation expanded to include different channels within the darknet. As part of the research for the book, he moderated a trolling group, purchased marijuana on a black market site and studied child pornography networks. Bartlett says that infiltrating the encrypted world of the Internet wasn’t as difficult as he expected: “I found overall that people that live in these darker parts of the net actually want to get their side of the story out, they want to be heard. So once you have their trust, you actually can’t stop them from talking; they won’t shut up.” MORE