The not so dark side of the darknet: a qualitative study

Mihnea Mirea, Victoria Wang, Jeyong Jung

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In recent years, the Darknet has become one of the most discussed topics in cyber security circles. Current academic studies and media reports tend to highlight how the anonymous nature of the Darknet is used to facilitate criminal activities. This paper reports on a recent research in four Darknet forums that reveals a different aspect of the Darknet. Drawing on our qualitative findings, we suggest that many users of the Darknet might not perceive it as intrinsically criminogenic, despite their acknowledgement of various kinds of criminal activity in this network. Further, our research participants emphasized on the achievement of constructive socio-political values through the use of the Darknet. This achievement is enabled by various characteristics that are rooted in the Darknet’s technological structure, such as anonymity, privacy, and the use of cryptocurrencies. These characteristics provide a wide range of opportunities for good as well as for evil.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalSecurity Journal
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 7 Aug 2018


  • Darknet
  • criminogenic
  • anonymity
  • privacy
  • cryptocurrencies


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