Pittsburgh, PA, September 12, 2016 (Newswire.com) - While there have been persistent rumors online about the existence of a dark web, this is the first time mention of it has been discussed so publicly and openly in media and other circles. Tiversa takes a look at the recent news headlines that are shining a light on the seedier side of the Internet.
About the Event
On July 22, a German-Iranian teen opened fire in a Munich shopping mall killing nine people, six of whom were between the ages of 14 and 17, and injuring 27 more. It is now believed that he lured seven of the teens he shot and killed to the mall using a fake Facebook account offering free food at the mall’s McDonald’s. The scope of the attack was shocking in a country that has such strict gun and ammunition laws.
We know that the gunman was 18 years of age and that he acted alone. The attack was originally thought to be related to terrorism. Later discoveries indicate the attack was born of racism rather than religious zealotry. All of the victims had immigrant backgrounds according to Middle East Eye. Current reports indicate that the shooter shared a birthday with Adolf Hitler and had an obsession with shooting rampages.
Many questions remain unanswered and the police are left to try to pull together the pieces since Sonboly, the shooter, also killed himself. Evidence does support that he planned his attack for more than a year before carrying it out.
One question that everyone was asking, though, is where he got the gun. Germany has very strict laws about gun ownership, registration, and ammunition restrictions. The massacre at the mall seemed unthinkable in light of these stringent regulations. The answer is one that is dark indeed.
What is the Dark Web?
Over the years there have been whispers and warnings of a dark web where people could fill almost any desire. From gaining access to illicit drugs to human trafficking, child exploitation, and illegal guns – you can find it there. If you know where to look. The lure of the dark web (though some refer to it as the deep web) is the anonymity it provides. Without the ability to track the actions of users it is nearly impossible to police. So, anything goes.
The irony is that TOR, which stands for The Onion Router, was designed by the U.S. Navy in an effort to provide anonymous Internet access to people in countries with totalitarian regimes. The goal was to provide freedom on the Internet so people in these countries could access news from around the world and share messages with people in other countries.
How is the Dark Web Linked to the Munich Mall Massacre?
The anonymity it provides these individuals, though, has been used by others to commission murder, buy drugs, buy weapons, and more. It is on the dark web that police believe Sonboly was able to purchase the 9mm gun he used in Munich.
The gun used in these shootings was a reactivated weapon that is believed to have come from Slovakia because of its Slovakian certification mark, according to the Wall Street Journal. The chief investigator warned that the results were still preliminary and that this is an active investigation. However, there is a fair amount of evidence supporting the fact that the gun was procured through a chat room conversation that took place on the dark web. The account associated with the chat has since been deactivated.
The problem with the dark web, in matters such as this, is that the anonymous nature of interactions makes them impossible to trace the person on the other side of the transaction. People typically use Bitcoins for further anonymity making it even more difficult for investigators to follow the money.
In wake of the recent murders there have been calls for even stricter gun control laws in Germany, which are already among the strictest in the world. Unfortunately, the dark web is making it increasingly easy for people to work around existing gun laws, anywhere in the world. This presents a potential nightmare for lawmakers and law enforcers alike.
Until law enforcement is able to bypass the anonymity the dark web facilitates it will be difficult to end the easy access to guns, drugs, and other vices that thrive beneath the surface of the World Wide Web. The bottom line is that those who have bad intentions have found a new tool for carrying out their dark desires. One that is beyond the reach of gun control laws.