Over the past few years, the dark web has been thrown into the center of global debate concerning the need for governments and people to maintain online anonymity amid raging cases of darknet-facilitated criminal activities.
Owing to the dynamic nature of dark web use and administration, policy makers must plug into the deep understanding of how the dark web works in order to instigate intelligent debate and create suitable dark web policies.
A Policy Dilemma
At a high level, the main policy concerns are about stakeholder determination of roles and functions that governments have to play in order to regulate the dark web space sustainably.
In addition, it is critical that the governments explore high-potential avenues for dark web regulation in order to avoid the expected gridlocks that may arise as a result of such policy.
The U.S. government, for example, has tried setting a precedent for dark web regulation that traverses the high echelons of global dark web enforcement – an effort that has seen Uncle Sam building and refining dark web-related policies, and provided a yardstick for the international community to follow through.
All in all, as succinctly described in the second paragraph, a clear grasp of practical and theoretical concepts surrounding the good and bad of online anonymity must be approached cautiously.
The application of overtly stringent and rash legislation will do more harm than good, by undermining people’s liberties and providing a breeding ground for monumental policy gridlocks.
Conversely, it would be a disaster for governments to ignore the role of dark web spaces in facilitating international cyber and financial crimes. Regulators must ensure that the dark web does not remain to be the infamous “Wild West” that the media community describes.
Point is, dark web regulation cannot occur in isolation, all stakeholders must be involved in ensuring that regulatory machines do not overstep their mandate while bringing sanity to the internet’s underground.
What Are the Main Policy Issues?
As we are about to see, all aspects of dark web regulation must follow a clearly-defined path that strives to preserve the innate values of internet users and the administrative structures that govern their existence.
The Suitable Role of Government in Dark Web Policy
With all emergent technologies, it is important for governments to identify an appropriate framework for regulating their applications.
Unfortunately, it appears that some governments have failed to provide the much-needed new laws in anticipation of technological advancements. For instance, the U.S. government appears to be stuck at trying to adapt archaic pieces of legislations meant to regulate the telecommunication industry to the internet.
The dark web is an entirely new discipline that needs fresh policies that are well informed and precise to the current opportunities and risk of the dark web – as opposed to a reliance on vague laws that are riddled with loopholes and imperfections.
In the above context, regulation becomes quite difficult on matters of Tor usage. See, Using Tor is not outright criminal, but the government has no clear way of sieving the criminal elements from a sea of users seeking to benefit from the online anonymity tool.
The Proper Tactics of Government Intervention to Be Applied
Apart from challenges stemming from the internet’s virtue of being international rather than local, governments seem to be at crossroads concerning the specific tactics that can be employed in dark web policy implementation.
Truth is, the government has the difficult task of shutting down dark web activity without undermining the anonymity of innocent darknet users by compromising confidential information.
Indeed, the most probable tactic must exhibit high specificity in targeting anonymous dark web users. By so doing, criminal actors will be held accountable for their wrongdoings and cases involving the mass deanonymization of user data will cease to be a concern.