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Crime IT Technology

Global Majority Backs a Ban On 'Dark Net,' Poll Says (reuters.com) 222

Alastair Sharp reports for Reuters: Seven in 10 people say the 'dark net' -- an anonymous online home to both criminals and activists fearful of government surveillance -- should be shut down, according to a global Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers and other digital threats.
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Global Majority Backs a Ban On 'Dark Net,' Poll Says

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  • luck (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:42PM (#51803515)

    good luck with that

    • Re:luck (Score:5, Insightful)

      by graphius ( 907855 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:47PM (#51803553) Homepage

      you know, maybe we should make crime illegal or something...

      • Re:luck (Score:5, Funny)

        by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:22PM (#51803745)

        I, for one, support outlawing bad and will gladly sign a petition saying that bad should, in fact, be banned. Only the bad would support bad. And so I must support good, as must anyone who is good. I will, for that matter, go so far as to say that bad is bad and that good is good--and would take issue with anyone who would say otherwise.

        • Re:luck (Score:5, Interesting)

          by fightermagethief ( 3645291 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:55PM (#51803933)

          Obviously hilarious, but I think there is something to take away from this. The standardization of culture that came about with ubiquitous communication (post, radio, television) also brought marketing strategies to define good. For example, someone may hold the opinion that drugs are bad, not based on medical science or experience, but because they were forced to watch a bunch of fear-mongering public service announcements in the 50's. I was exposed to the art/culture of cyberpunk before I was interested in technology. One of the primary themes was the trans-valuation of values. That as control over discourse increased, what is called good would be more aligned in the interests of keeping established power structures in place rather than actual morality. In this way, what is disruptive can be called bad so as to oppose it not on practical grounds but moral/spiritual. Eventually this becomes a veil of ignorance that keeps the populace productive and tacitly supporting all kinds of atrocities.
          Never trust people whose identity is caught up in appearing good.

          • None of this is new. Confucius was very big on obedience to established authority, as were some of the ancient Greek philosophers. "Being disruptive" is obviously bad - "disruption" is definitely negative. The use of this word to describe business and social changes that are supposedly positive is, in itself, a recent style change; and the ready acceptance of such word redefinition is similarly a slightly longer-term-recent style change.
            • Re:luck (Score:4, Interesting)

              by fightermagethief ( 3645291 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @09:37PM (#51804473)

              I assume you mean the use of the term "disruption" like I am going to disrupt the search engine game by introducing a superior search engine or such? Like an "aggressive business strategy" or something? And that the redefinition of words in such a style is nothing new.
              I am talking more specifically about adherence to widely accepted moral values. It came to mind because of the parent post. It is obvious that we are all for good and against bad. What is dangerous about people actually holding such a facile belief, is that the perception of what is good is can be unclear as to its source. Those who make a show of being good, are in danger of supporting injustice. The cyberpunk trope takes it to the extreme that political/economic power has been corrupted to the extent that language and societal norms are not to be trusted, ie 'the dystopia, skynet, 1984 newspeak'. So what is proclaimed to be good is actually bad and vice versa. It is an artistic extrapolation, but useful to keep in the back of one's mind.
              Legitimate disruption is not bad if you are disrupting the phishing scam business. Violence is not bad when you are attempting to free North Koreans from a malignant dictatorship.

          • by gavron ( 1300111 )

            > Never trust people whose identity is caught up in appearing good.

            I always thought Father Maxie was up to no good.

            E

          • I've more recently amused myself by telling people about the other cultural impacts. This works well for me since I have no fixed moral compass and will just reconfigure to operate within society's bounds; that's a secondary effect of being SPD I think: I'm not socially-attached to you and so don't sympathize with your moral panic. I'll raise issue when objective harm is done--which happens a lot both when you break moral systems (regardless of if the moral system is essential--that is, an act that's ha

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Evil will always triumph because GOOD is DUMB.

        • I noticed that you waffled on grey areas....
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        Just require that the dark net be RFC 3514 [ietf.org] compliant.
      • by pla ( 258480 )
        you know, maybe we should make crime illegal or something...

        The "Dark net" doesn't just (or even primarily) mean places like Silk Road. Every corporate WAN falls under that description as well; every paywalled (or even just "login required to see anything") site on the internet counts as part of the darknet; Every 100% legitimate VPN provider offers a portal to your own private darknet; Hell, even your own home LAN could arguably count as a darknet.

        The problem here has nothing to do with legality; mo
        • exactly, which is why, even if we could, we should not make non-indexed, or other darknet sites illegal. The sites that are illegal are already illegal. And for that matter, the illegal sites will just move to somewhere else, so declaring they are even more illegal will not change anything.

    • I'm sure they got what they paid for.

      no where does it say 1000 randomly selected people.
      the countries do appear to be random, though stopping at 24 was odd.
      I guess it gave them what they needed.

      • Re:luck (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:23PM (#51803757)
        Even if all of that was done properly, they don't provide a copy of the poll questions so who knows what they actually asked.

        Consider the following question "Do you agree that the dark net, a part of the global internet that houses illegal drugs, child pornography, and other illicit activity should be banned by the world's governments?" along with the usual strong agree, agree, etc. options. Of course you'd naturally expect people to agree it should be banned. You could make up something called the dragon net and people would overwhelmingly be in favor of banning it, even though it doesn't exist.

        Of course you could phrase the question another way and paint the dark net as a place where people go to escape government censorship or authoritarian surveillance and I'd bet you'd get people voting that the U.S. should do more to fund it. Without knowing the question which was asked, the answer is almost meaningless.
        • Re:luck (Score:5, Informative)

          by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @08:09PM (#51803987)

          If you download the Detailed Tables 2 file from the article it has the start of the question:

          " A part of the Internet known as the "Dark Net" is only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. Journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption. At the same time, hackers, illegal marketplaces (eg. selling weap"

          But it's cut off there. However I do wish they would post the full questions right with their results in order to be transparent.

          • If you download the Detailed Tables 2 file from the article it has the start of the question:

            " A part of the Internet known as the "Dark Net" is only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. Journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption. At the same time, hackers, illegal marketplaces (eg. selling weap"

            But it's cut off there. However I do wish they would post the full questions right with their results in order to be transparent.

            Also necessary to assume that those being polled took the time to actually read and understand the question(s).

            As well, were the people being polled truly a random statistically relevant sample of the global population or, for example, only police officers?

          • So, what you are saying is that a group that seems to be pushing for the dark net to be suppressed because the dark net lacks transparency is apparently afraid of transparency? Who would ever believe something like that? Believing that something like that being possible would be just as dumb as believing that the wealthiest 10 individuals in the US really are asking for their taxes to be raised significantly.

    • Maybe they could join with my campaign to ban the evil chemical dihydrogenmonoxide. It's the cause of so much trouble!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:43PM (#51803519)

    ...have some fucking clue about how the internet works.

    • "A majority of societies are ok with how societies work and don't care enough for protecting the freedom of expression and opinions of those who don't, at-least not if that also allow more extreme people who don't like their society to act as-well."

      Such fucking news.

      Maybe they can with correctness call it "for democracy" as long as that democracy mean "for the views we the majority has decided to be the only correct ones", if the idea of a democracy is to be able to spread various opinions and effect societ

    • ...have some fucking clue about how the internet works.

      Tech is not magic.

      The Internet is not a machine that drives itself. Untouched by political forces, laws, treaties, contracts, and so on.

      If the will can be found to change the rules that define how the Internet works, the Internet will change. The geek will have a voice in these decisions, but he will not have the final say. It wouldn't be the first time the technocrat saw power slip through his fingers.

    • by SumDog ( 466607 )

      People don't understand that you can't really shutdown an abstract concept.

    • by Afty0r ( 263037 )
      Came to post exactly this.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Or some people think "I understand that it is unrealistic, but I would like there would be no need for it, so I would want it gone."

      I mean, I would really like there would be no laws against murder either, because that would mean there would be no murders. Unrealistic? Absolutely, but you asked what I WANTED. (I also want a pony!)

  • ..I.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:44PM (#51803529)
    ..I..
  • by Alexan Kulbashian ( 4438611 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:44PM (#51803533)
    This reminds me of the Penn and Teller BS episode where people sign petitions to "End Womens' Suffrage". They need to know what it is before they vote on it. This is the problem on getting your computer education from CSI Cyber.. .like getting your cooking education from the Chef on the Muppets
    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:52PM (#51803585)

      Call it "dark net, home of criminals and terrorists" and what do you _think_ public opinion will be.

      Call it virtual private networks, home to banking transactions, corporate and personal communications - then what's the response?

      Both are encrypted and impenetrable to normal eavesdropping methods.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:59PM (#51803637) Homepage

        How about the darkest nets of them one, the ones where government secrets are kept from citizens so that corrupt politicians can stay in power. I vote 100% for the removal of those. So get rid of them first and then government agencies and then all businesses worth more than one hundred million dollars and then all religious organisations in fact any organisation with a tax free status and then I have no problem with them coming for the rest of us. Of course to be fair, I already have no digital privacy and encryption would definitely create problems for me (better to let them digitally in, then have them force their way physically in).

        • I used to believe results such as these were cleverly skewed by the type of person surveyed and the manner in which the question was worded.

          Now I'm pretty sure that simply stringing together dark and web is easily enough for supermajority of average earthlings.

          Hmmm... Clearly, dark isn't good and don't webs come from spiders? Ewww!

      • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:25PM (#51803767)

        Actual question:

        Q13. A part of the Internet known as the "Dark Net" is only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. Journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption. At the same time, hackers, illegal marketplaces (eg. selling weapons and narcotics), and child abuse sites can also use these services to hide from law enforcement. Do you agree or disagree that the "Dark Net" should be shut down.

        I'm not sure it's that poorly worded. But it is an "internet poll", whatever that means.

        And looking at the actual data, in the US for instance it's only 33% who selected "strongly agree". 58% selected one of the wishy-washy "somewhat agree" or "somewhat disagree" boxes. Only 9% selected "strongly disagree".

        • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

          It's poorly worded; specifically the paragraph ends with a conclusory phrase to which one is to agree or disagree: the "Dark Net" should be shut down.

          People tend to instinctively associate formal surveys with an "authority figure" in their mental space, and feel inclination or pressure to conform to expectations, so when an "authority" asks someone to agree or disagree with a conclusory phrase...

          Conducting a truly unbiased survey is difficult, even if that's what you're trying to accomplish.

        • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @08:05AM (#51806423)

          Many years ago a newspaper asked me about a child porn case where the city was giving out webhosting. This was in 1997 or 1998.
          One of their questions was if it was OK for the city to hand out a place to host child porn for free at the cost of the citizens.

          It was obvious to me that they were trying to set me up to say that it was terrible that a city gives out places to host child porn.
          My reaction was to separate the hosting of child porn and the giving away of webspace. I praised the city to give people the opportunity to get a website (not evident then where I lived) and the fact that it is up to the police, whom I had informed about the child porn and they had done nothing, to go after illegal usage.

          I am well aware many people will not see what the intend of the questions is (besides from getting an answer)

          In the end the police tried to bully me by saying I was distributing childporn (I had send the URL to them, after I saw it in a Usenet group that fights Internet abuse), identity falsification (because I used face info to activate a free email account) and found me by calling my company telling my manager that they wanted to talk to me concerning a child porn case. Luckily my boss wasn't stupid and even offered to pay for a lawyer if anything ever came of it.

          Somehow after that I NEVER saw anything illegal anywhere ever again. Not online, not offline.

          • My IRL experience was very similar.
            Amazing how blind I can be now.
            Sadly my fingerprints still cause me trouble when applying for some forms of access, even though I was only a witness.

            -nb

    • I'm sure a "global majority" support outlawing the other guy's religion, too.

    • Problem solved - Be it resolved as of today, February 29, 2016, the Dark Net is officially dead.

      For all your criminal and paranoid needs, please use Unicorn Net, now with 5 extra rainbows out its ass.

    • This reminds me of the Penn and Teller BS episode where people sign petitions to "End Womens' Suffrage".

      Your observation is accurate beyond mere criticism of the survey. The governments are deliberately raising the profile of this new "War on Darknets" because they don't dare call it what it really is, namely their War on Privacy . The deception created by tech-sounding wordplay which the majority don't understand is central to making their plan work, because otherwise they encounter pushback from the ma

    • Not penn and teller, I believe that was 'The Man Show' from comedy central.

    • Wait, are you telling me that my herdeflorfty isn't going to taste as good if I fleem da floopdy herdy bordy?

  • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:45PM (#51803541) Journal

    a poll can be bend to agree with anything the sponsor wants.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Q. A part of the Internet known as the "Dark Net" is only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. Journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption. At the same time, hackers, illegal marketplaces (eg. selling weapons and narcotics), and child abuse sites can also use these services to hide from law enforcement. Do yo

  • by fnj ( 64210 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:48PM (#51803561)

    This was probably a bullshit fucking push poll worded to elicit a certain response. But whether it was or it wasn't, here's a hearty disdainful BAAA BAAA BAAA to the fucking sheep who made up the 71%.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:59PM (#51803631) Journal

    The findings, from a poll of at least 1,000 people hand-picked by the respective governments in each of 24 countries, come as policymakers and technology companies argue over whether digital privacy should be curbed to help regulators and law enforcement more easily thwart hackers, identify malcontents, whistle-blowers, criticizers of governments and government leaders/officials, 'undesirables', and other digital threats.

    Emphasis mine, of course
    The U.S. is far from being the only country in the world that has a problem with nosy government and 'law enforcement' (more like 'will enforcement' in some cases, to be honest). We're just (still, for the moment) allowed to actually talk about it (without [much] fear of being made to disappear).

  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:00PM (#51803639)
    Perhaps we should also ban all of the books in dark libraries? - that would be any book not found in a public library. After all there could be dangerous information in books that haven't been screened and approved for general public consumption by your local library staff.
    • How are you supposed to read a book in a dark library? They don't have backlit screens.

    • Actually, public libraries contain dangerous information. When I was in junior high school, I discovered that the school library contained books that explained how to make gunpowder. And, yes, it was accurate. I'm always amused when I hear people decry the availability of that type of information on the internet.
      • I learned how to make thermite in school. The chemistry teacher even made a little and demonstrated it behind the screen.

        Many years later I was quite amused to see it in Mythbusters with Adam mocklingly referring to the components as 'blur' and 'blur' and holding bottles with pixelated labels, because this information was considered so dangerous by the producers that the ingredients could not even be named.

        I've enough knowledge of chemistry right now to make four explosives (not including thermite, which do

    • Look, if we could rid the world of the Dark Oculators, I'd be right on that. Those guys are bad juju.

  • Poll indicates that 9/10 people have no idea how technology works.

  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:08PM (#51803675) Journal

    ...7 in 10 people don't understand the Internet

  • The poll asks if the "dark net" should be shut down. It's not clear if they defined the darknet properly or at all. Certainly the only parts of the darknet that get press are the bad parts, and equally certainly the internet would have to be profoundly changed to shut it down.

    How many of the respondents think that "the darknet" is "the illegal part"? If the question is being heard as "Should the illegal parts of the internet be shut down", then of COURSE the answer is "yea, naturally, the law should be e

    • They defined it pretty fairly. A place where whistleblowers and journalists exercise their rights and hackers and illicit goods marketplaces communicate.

      I mean they left out the entire privacy for individuals bit, but on balance....

  • It's been shut down. Well, as far as you know. If you hear about the 'dark net' from now on, it's either a new one or pure rumor.

  • Won't someone please think of the children!

  • by daremonai ( 859175 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:23PM (#51803753)
    If you're interested, here's the beginning of what appears to be the wording of the poll question in English. This is from a PDF on the Ipsos website, which unfortunately truncates the question. No idea how it was rendered in other languages, sorry:

    Q. A part of the Internet known as the "Dark Net" is only accessible via special web browsers that allow you to surf the web anonymously. Journalists, human rights activists, dissidents and whistleblowers can use these services to rally against repression, exercise their fundamental rights to free expression and shed light upon corruption. At the same time, hackers, illegal marketplaces (eg. selling weapons and narcotic ...

  • Sorry, but the Internet isn't a fucking democracy.
    Nor a popularity contest.
    So your average majority of ignorant luddites (including every single politician currently sitting in office, as well as those waiting in the wings) have exactly DICK to actually say about technology implementation.

    Sure, they can THINK their word and opinion means something.
    It isn't even worth the effort it takes to simply ignore them as the clueless blowhard jackasses they really are.

  • "Do you agree that the government should be able to ban, monitor, or log all traffic on non-public networks, such as your home Wi-Fi or office?"
  • by jouassou ( 1854178 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @07:44PM (#51803857) Homepage
    1. First, outlaw these darknets used by those pesky pedophiles and terrorists;
    2. Then, interpret "darknet" to cover all anonymous and/or encrypted communication;
    3. ???
    4. PROFIT!
  • Easily done, as demonstrated here by Sir Humphrey https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • So if they shut down the dark web,

    what if I create a cloud-based business called "Communication Club" and offer the service of private anonymous communication.

    I arrange the encryption so the corporation has no way of decrypting your private channels/subweb.

    So is this "creative use of a private intranet" now also illegal?

     

  • Unless it becomes a crime to move stores of random numbers across borders it will always be possible to set up dark networks. And why is the opinion of the majority even relevant when they have no idea about how these things work and are used?

    There may be serious problems but banning the unstoppable certainly isn't even close to a solution, in fact I see the idea as an admission that certain people do not have the intelligence or imagination to come up with a better solution to the core issues that dark
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Follow the new funding and next gen expert cyber contractors who can "track", log, chat on or enter or log ip's on the ever ending, banned "darknet".
      That no bid funding and expert overtime will add up once the banning laws set in :)
      Cash for the expert skills, cash for new support networks that cant be tracked back or found by anyone so sock puppets and undercover personas can thrive online over years.
      The software needed to log and capture data all has to be rented or created too :) Only private sector c
  • Let's not stop there.
    Let's also outlaw terrorism, that will stop it!

  • ... a Global Citizen? And how can we be sure that they are expressing their own beliefs and not voting to please their nations' secret police to stay out of the gulag? I suppose we could trust this survey if it were conducted on a dark net.

  • .....it is mostly full of teenage boys mastibabting to porn.

    Or perhaps they already did and that is the problem :/ .

  • In my state, tickets for any kind of public event, from a fair to the Super Bowl, can be traded freely after purchase by individuals or brokers. It's a great convenience if you have bought tickets to a game or concert and your lans change, so everyone here loves the system. But in states where the event operator and sports lobby is strong, ticket resale is kept illegal by calling it "scalping." This sounds awful, so people tacitly accept the inconvenience of resale being banned.

    In the same way, the name Dar

    • Control the language, control the public. I recently wrote a comment on another story about the American College of Pediatricians. Look at that name and think what it brings to mind. Respected medical professionals? Academic integrity? That's the intention. In reality the respectable one is the American Academy of Pediatrics - after the AAP endorsed allowing gay couples to adopt in 2002 a few of their members broke off in protest and formed the ACP - an explicitly religious organisation, the primary purpose

  • I always have to ask how the question was phrased:

    "Do you think the dark net, used by terrorists and pedophiles, should be shut down?"
    OR
    "Do you think the dark net, used by dissidents opposing totalitarian governments, should be shut down?"
    .
  • Why stop at calling it "the Dark Net"? If they referred to it as the "Super Evil Kitten-Punching Net of Doom", they could probably get 9 out of 10 people to oppose it.

    Feh.

  • So at least 24,000 out of a global population of nearing 8 billion.

    Again, what a shit study. Shit sample size, shitty controls, horrible sample group selection.

    Scam science like this should never be allowed on /.

  • Dark == no DNS entries

    Quit charging for DNS hosting and domain names, and the majority of this problem evaporates over night.

  • And it's everywhere, it's not highly populated but backward areas, it's approximately the same everywhere US = 72%.

    The thing is, people are also too stupid to realize that outlawing something means only outlaws will have that thing.

    Banning encryption ( or banning un-backdoored 'encryption' ) wouldn't stop criminals from using it, it would only mean the darknet still runs, but only for people who are breaking the law. You are never going to keep the ability to apply a one time pad to a message from the h

  • Have you ever been wondering "Who the fuck keeps voting in those idiots?"

    There's your answer.

  • As if 1,000 people could even be remotely representative of the millions of people in my state, much less the ~330 million people in the U.S.

    Anyone with any wits about them at all recognizes that polls are generally worthless anyway, even when they aren't deceitfully designed to elicit a particular desired response through careful wording of the poll questions. But to assert a mere 1,000 people could accurately represent the views of the billions of people worldwide who use the internet is sheer fallacy.

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