This section is titled ‘political’ to be intentionally broad. The Dark Web is used by whistleblowers, dissidents, and others whose interests are considered to be radical political views.
On October 4, 2011 a user reported to the Tor bug tracker that unpublished bridges stop working after only a few minutes when used from within China . Bridges are unpublished Tor relays and their very purpose is to help censored users to access the Tor network if the “main entrance” is blocked. The bug report indicated that the Great Firewall of China (GFC) has been enhanced with the potentiality of dynamically blocking Tor. (Winter & Lindskog, 1)
China, known to have an extremely restrictive community, has a powerful firewall. In effect, this firewall stops the flows of everyday traffic to such sites as Facebook, while also blocking government critics from posting online.
China is not the only area where Tor is required to bypass a strict government. During the Arab Spring in Egypt, web users turned to Tor when the government began blocking Twitter and other sites. The Egyptian government even went so far as to shut down Internet and cellphone communications (Rhoads & Fowler). Once traditional (Surface Web) means of communication were severed, Dark Web traffic through Tor skyrocketed:
Like Egypt, Syria has been on the verge of a war, with large violent crackdowns on political dissidents by the army. Syria too has blocked access to many networking tools which they view as a threat to the power structure. One site I found, Anonymous Syria, is a Surface Web page dedicated to showing Syrian users how to bypass government censorship:
On the other side of political dissidents, are radical political critics. One Dark Web site I found called ‘Against Servants’ was created because their Surface Web sites had been taken down too many times. They describe themselves: “This page give you information about people who work against society, about people who are servants of riches, of imperialists, and imperialist themselves (starting with Denmark)” (Against Servants). What is truly shocking about this site is that they have the addresses of politicians, and details of their security:
Pia (Merete) Kjaersgaard, born 1947 in Copenhagen, is a Danish fascist politician. She is a co-founder and current leader of the Danish People’s Party (“Dansk Folkeparti”). She is enemy of foreigners who come from poor countries. She is in parliament board for control of secret agency (political police) and she helps with her minor party to the ruling party to keep majority in parliament. She misuse her position, so political police arrest Muslims and foreigners with aim to make propaganda against them. Kjaersgaard was reported to the police by Denmark’s Center for Racial Discrimination, for making racist remarks. Police declined to prosecute Kjaersgaard. Her address is, of course, in rich part of Copenhagen and she is surely protected by political police: ADDRESS REMOVED. Update, December 2010: She got so called “panic room”, it is protected room in her home where she can hide herself and activate alarm for cops, when someone attacks her. (ibid)
What is most interesting is that this Against Servants highlights a rarely seen subculture of radical Left-wing extremists, willing to do what it takes to get rid of conservative politicians.
These examples of political uses for the Dark Web attest to its nature of being open and anonymous. It bypasses (for the most part) the claws of government oppression. But while some use it to spread word of anti-government protests, as in the example with Egypt and Syria, it can also easily be used for violence and other ideas detrimental to a cause. The important idea to remember is that the Dark Web facilitates all of these communications and interactions, and without the Dark Web, these groups would have to find another way, perhaps even offline, to communicate.