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Entering The Dark Web To Hunt Human Traffickers

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We all use search engines every day. Don’t know a word? Google it. Can’t remember exactly what that restaurant’s address was? Yahoo will know.

These search engines (and others) are extremely helpful for our everyday lives; they help us shop, do our jobs, attend to school work and link us to entertainment and games. However, they only scratch the surface of the world wide web. Under that surface is the Dark Web, and it is the playground of human traffickers. Until know, it was nearly impossible to search the Dark Web in order to track down such illegal activity.

If you’re a terrorist, paedophile, gun-runner, drug dealer, sex trafficker or serious criminal of that ilk then the shadows of the Deep Web, and particularly the Dark Web, offer a safer haven then the part occupied by, say, Naked Security or Wikipedia.

Enter Memex, brainchild of the boffins at DARPA, the US government agency that built the internet (then ARPANET).

DARPA describes Memex as a set of search tools that are better suited to government (presumably law enforcement and intelligence) use than commercial search engines.

Memex has the ability to search past domains that are “surface sites:” ones that are linked to on other sites, have registered domains, and are primarily commercial in nature. Chris White, program manager at DARPA, says Memex is a completely new and necessary tool.

We’re envisioning a new paradigm for search that would tailor indexed content, search results and interface tools to individual users and specific subject areas, and not the other way around. By inventing better methods for interacting with and sharing information, we want to improve search for everybody and individualize access to information. Ease of use for non-programmers is essential.

We’re envisioning a new paradigm for search that would tailor indexed content, search results and interface tools to individual users and specific subject areas, and not the other way around.

Memex has been available to law enforcement for about a year, and is already yielding positive results.

In September 2014, sex trafficker Benjamin Gaston was sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison having been found guilty of ‘Sex Trafficking, as well as Kidnapping, Criminal Sexual Act, Rape, Assault, and Sex Abuse – all in the First Degree.’

Human traffickers rely on the Deep Web to conduct their “business.” The use of Memex by law enforcement will help put another road block in the path of those who profit from buying and selling human beings.

Read, “Memex – DARPA’s search engine for the Dark Web” at Naked Security.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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