THE SO-CALLED DARK web, for all its notoriety as a haven for criminals and drug dealers, is slowly starting to look more and more like a more privacy-preserving mirror of the web as a whole. Now it’s gained one more upstanding member: the non-profit news organization ProPublica.
On Wednesday, ProPublica became the first known major media outlet to launch a version of its site that runs as a “hidden service” on the Tor network, the anonymity system that powers the thousands of untraceable websites that are sometimes known as the darknet or dark web. The move, ProPublica says, is designed to offer the best possible privacy protections for its visitors seeking to read the site’s news with their anonymity fully intact. Unlike mere SSL encryption, which hides the content of the site a web visitor is accessing, the Tor hidden service would ensure that even the fact that the reader visited ProPublica’s website would be hidden from an eavesdropper or Internet service provider.