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  • 17 Feb 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Darknet, Darkathon.

For Mains: Darknet and related Concerns.

Why in News?

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) launched a ‘Darkathon’ for cyber experts to find effective solutions to unravel the anonymity of markets in the dark web.

  • The role of NCB as the nodal agency on the matter of drug law enforcement in India has gained prominence in recent times.

What is Darkathon-2022?

  • The competitors will have to provide a “solution” based on crawling of darkweb to identify and catalog darknet markets selling drugs with a mechanism to automatically add new markets and drop inactive ones, identify drug traffickers based in India and the drugs on sale and digital footprinting of active drug traffickers.
  • The number of drug seizures from parcel or courier consignments increased by almost 250% in India after the outbreak of the pandemic and a good number of them are linked to drug trafficking through darknet markets.

What is Darknet and Concerns?

  • About: Internet consists of three layers:
    • The first layer is public, consisting of sites that one uses frequently such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and LinkedIn. This layer makes up only 4% of the entire internet.
    • The second layer, the deep web, is a network where data is stored in inaccessible databases (i.e. cannot be accessed through traditional search engines like Google). It is used to provide access to a specific group of people.
      • The data is generally sensitive and private (government private data, bank data, cloud data etc), so kept out of reach.
    • The third layer is the darknet which is also known as a part of the ‘Deep Web’. It is a network built over the internet which is encrypted.
      • It is basically a layer of the Internet accessible only by using special software like TOR (The Onion Router), or I2P, which stands for Invisible Internet Project.
      • Anything present on the dark web will not be pulled up in internet searches, thereby offering a high degree of anonymity.
  • Concerns over Darknet:
    • In February 2016, in a study titled ‘Cryptopolitik and the Darknet’, researchers analysed content over the TOR network.
      • Of the 2,723 websites they could classify by content, 1,547 – 57 % – hosted illicit material ranging from drugs (423 sites), illegitimate pornography (122) and hacking (96), among others.
    • There were also reports of log-in details of streaming sites like Netflix being sold on the dark web marketplaces for cheap rates.
    • The network is also used by several activists especially those living under oppressive regimes to communicate without any government censorship.
    • The TOR network was used by activists during the Arab Spring.
  • Darknet and India:
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 deals with cybercrime and comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. There are only six sections in the law that deal with cybercrime.
    • With the changing times, India needs a code of criminal procedures dealing with cybercrime that would come under the Ministry of Home Affairs, which deals with policing issues.
    • Also, there is a need for police, trained in changing cyber trends who are dedicated only to cybercrime and not transferred to other police units.

Source: ET

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