I've skimmed though a good bit of this thread, to be honest I didn't even read half of it.
Let me first start by saying I'm not an "expert" or "authority" on anything, I basis everything on research or first hand experience.
I've spent a considerable amount of the "Deep Web", via Tor mostly. I've dabbled with I2P and did extensive research on FreeNet.
All of the above of are Anonymity Programs/Networks and Hidden Services. Technically the Deep Web is anything not in the DNS/Seach Engines.
Tor itself (as do many of the others) uses "Onion Routing", a concept developed and created by the US Naval Research Labs for citizens of
Authoritarian States that restrict access control to the internet. By definition Tor is a "proxy".
Every system that is inside the Tor network has to "route" encrypted traffic, your IP and traffic is mixed in, layered and it is exactly as implied an
"onion" of traffic. If you are probing around on the Tor and happen across CP you will NOT have anyone kicking down you door or arresting you, your IP
is not logged.
Your IP is one of MILLIONS on the Tor Network, the traffic is encrypted and they're not going to go after a person who "accidentally" ran across some
CP when there are entire rings of real pedophiles committing actual crimes.
As mentioned above Tor offers access to Hidden Services and a plethora of other places by using pseudo- Top Level Domain, non-mnemonic, 16-character
alpha-semi-numeric hashes from a public key that is generated automatically when a Hidden Service is created.
That means the address is generated with the use of a public key for the pseudo-Top Level Domain, the hash is a 16 character set made up of any letter
in the alphabet and with decimal digits beginning with 2 and ending with 7 (base32). Non-mnemonic means it isn't easy to remember.
Every time a page is shutdown and recreated (or mirrored) the address is changed to a new pseudo-Top Level Domain, non-mnemonic, 16-character
I've been to a good many sites in Onionland, I've run into some Cheese Pizza (CP), but if you're not actively looking for it your chances of running
isn't too big. As far as what's out there? Anything and everything, illegal arms, hit-men, CP, prostitutes, political dissidents, UFO groups,
university science group projects, government and military web-space, information sites, hackers/crackers, software both legal and illegal, ect...
I've heard rumors and stories that after the Navy, the NSA and CIA used Tor to pass different types of data and information to Field Officers and each
other. I've also heard that the Military has used some space for various projects and communications. I can not speak to the validity of any of theses
rumors or stories, but it does entice the curious.
In regards to security. Running Tor in the open without additional security measures is dangerous, not because of government spooks or the CIA, but
because of Crackers and Hackers looking to use your system as part of a Botnet, acquire Banking information, play pranks and all the other general
thing one with nefarious intent on the internet would do.
Tor itself isn't a 'security" program, it is merely a supporting program to help hide and anonymize you and your traffic. Security requires an active
part on the user.
The use of proxies such as Popilo, Privoxy, Squid, JonDoFox, ect... are encouraged. Firefox is probably the safest browser to partake this endeavor
on, solely because of the plethora of security related add-ons at a users disposal.
In particular the Tor Button, FlagFox, Cookie Monster, AdBlock Plus, BetterPrivacy, HTTPS-Everywhere, PrivacyChoice TrackerBlocker, RefControl, User
Agent Switcher, and others.
DO NOT access any private or personal information while using Tor, I2P, Freenet or any similar program. DO NOT access Facebook, Twitter, or any social
media websites that contain personal information.
While these programs aren't illegal, it isn't a wise decision to openly take about them to others. It makes you a mark for anyone who's really nosy or
works for a government agency that has nothing better to do than track US citizens.
There is no finite way to ensure complete anonymity on the internet, but a user can make it a behemoth of a task to tracked and or find any useable
I hope I've brought some insight and answered some questions.
edit on 28-7-2012 by Weps21 because: (no reason given)