Title: The Dark Net: Inside the Digital World
Author: Jamie Bartlett
My Rating: ♥♥♥
I heard about The Dark Net in a podcast I was listening to about the horrible things that people get up to on corners of the internet. The author was interviewed on the topic, and it sounded like he had some interesting things to say. I’m sure I must have heard about the “dark net” before, but it didn’t stick and it felt like I was hearing about it for the first time. A world of secret websites where anything goes and you can’t get there using a normal browser? Tell me more!
Bartlett spent a year exploring this underworld of the internet. He met child porn users, webcam girls, anarchistic developers, and someone who wants to live forever by uploading their brains. It sounds like he must have had a very interesting time writing this book, and I enjoyed reading it.
Well, while I enjoyed the book overall, I have to admit that some of the more technical parts tended to fly over my head. He went into a lot of detail about how Bitcoin works, but it’s still a total mystery to me. He also went into a detailed history of how early types of communication by internet developed, and again I felt like I wanted to skip those parts.
The most interesting parts for me were the chapters about the communities that have formed around child porn, pro-anorexia, pro-self-harm, suicide, and so on. Even though a lot of the stuff he writes about is not even on the “dark net” but rather on normal websites that everyone can access, I thought it was a really good tour of many of the darker places on the internet. It was an interesting exploration of how these kinds of places are helping to shape society and the way we look at these things. And it’s not all negative – I walked away from the book feeling like there were positive aspects even in things that sound pretty terrible at first.
An interesting read – I recommend it.