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As of 2015, "The Darknet" is often used interchangeably with the dark web due to the quantity

of hidden services on Tor's darknet. The term is often inaccurately used interchangeably with
the deep web due to Tor's history as a platform that could not be search-indexed. Mixing uses of
both these terms has been described as inaccurate, [7] with some commentators recommending
the terms be used in distinct fashions.[8][9]

"Darknet" was coined in the 1970s to designate networks that were isolated
from ARPANET (which evolved into the Internet), for security purposes.[10] Darknet addresses
could receive data from ARPANET but did not appear in the network lists and would not
answer pings or other inquiries.
The term gained public acceptance following publication of "The Darknet and the Future
of Content Distribution", a 2002 paper by Peter Biddle, Paul England, Marcus Peinado,
and Bryan Willman, four employees of Microsoft who argued that the presence of the darknet
was the primary hindrance to the development of workable digital rights management(DRM)
technologies and made copyright infringement inevitable.[11]

Journalist J. D. Lasica, in his 2005 book Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital
Generation, described the darknet's reach encompassing file sharing networks. [12]Consequently,
in 2014, journalist Jamie Bartlett in his book The Dark Net used it to describe a range of
underground and emergent subcultures, including camgirls, cryptoanarchists, darknet drug
markets, Self Harm communities, social media racists, and transhumanists.[13]

Darknets in general may be used for various reasons, such as:

Computer crime (hacking, file corruption etc.)

Protecting dissidents from political reprisal

File sharing (warez, personal files, pornography, confidential files, illegal or counterfeit
software etc.)

To better protect the privacy rights of citizens from targeted and mass surveillance

Sale of restricted goods on darknet markets

Whistleblowing and news leaks

Purchase or sale of illicit or illegal goods or services[14]

Circumvent network censorship and content-filtering systems, or to bypass

restrictive firewall-policies.[15]

Exercising human rights such as the right to speak or contract free from commercial or
state interference.

Avoiding emotional battery (crime) such as that may be inflicted as a result

of Neuromarketing.

Refusing to consent to surveillance on communications networks where no right to

consent is formally recognized or honored between the Internet Service Provider and the end
All darknets require specific software installed or network configurations made to access them,
such as Tor, which can be accessed via a customised browser from Vidalia (aka the Tor browser
bundle), or alternatively via a proxy configured to perform the same function.


A cartogram illustrating Tor usage

Decentralized network 42 (not for anonymity but research purposes)

Freenet is a popular darknet (friend-to-friend) by default; since version 0.7 it can run as a
"opennet" (peer nodes are discovered automatically).

GNUnet can be utilised as a darknet[16] if the "F2F (network) topology" option is enabled.[17]

I2P (Invisible Internet Project) is another overlay network that features a darknet whose
sites are called "Eepsites".

OneSwarm can be run as a darknet for friend-to-friend file-sharing.

RetroShare can be run as a darknet (friend-to-friend) by default to perform anonymous

file transfers if DHT and Discovery features are disabled.

Riffle is a client-server darknet system that simultaneously provides secure anonymity

(as long as at least one server remains uncompromised), efficient computation, and minimal
bandwidth burden.[18][19]

Syndie is software used to publish distributed forums over the anonymous networks of
I2P, Tor and Freenet.

Tor (The onion router) is an anonymity network that also features a darknet - its "hidden
services". It is the most popular instance of a darknet.[20]

Tribler can be run as a darknet for file-sharing.

Zeronet is open source software aimed to build an internet-like computer

network of peer-to-peer users of Tor.