The Deep Web (also known as the Invisible Web, Hidden Web and Deepnet) is a vast treasure trove of data and information that, like the base of an iceberg, is completely hidden beneath the "Surface Web" tip that you and I use every day. Some believe the content of the Deep Web is five times larger than all our measly search engine-accessible data. Put another way? What we experience as the Internet is only mere fraction—hovering around 4 percent—of the entire Interwebs.
Not surprisingly, the shadowy cockles of the Deep Web have become a safe haven for criminality. Interestingly enough however, it was originally created to be a conduit for free, un-surveillanced speech.
Irishman Ian Clarke is considered by most circles to be the founder of the Deep Web; Clarke first created "Freenet"—a decentralized data storage platform that enabled censorship-resistant communication—as a final project for computer science class while studying at Edinburgh University in 1995. (He received a B.) Five years later Clarke released his Freenet software to the public, which you can still readily download here. (Other Deep Web options include Tor and I2P.)
Should you choose to go down the rabbit-hole, you're sure to stumble onto just. about. anything. From anarchists and animal rights activists to bomb-makers, sexual deviants, drug lords and porn, the Deep Web is an—ostensibly—anonymous dumping ground for the human psyche and experience. While the aim has always been to make the users' existence untraceable, law officials are rapidly pursuing ways to crack the code and bring these shadows to the light.
There is all the teeming life of the everyday Internet, but rendered a little stranger and more intense. One of the Freenet bloggers sums up the difference: "If you're reading this now, then you're on the darkweb." —Andy Beckett, The Guardian
The yawning implications of potential use for this not-so-hidden facet of the Internet is staggering. Between companies culling through previously un-tapped data to mastermind their outreach to contraband peddlers (hello, Silk Road!), the possibilities—and consequences—are indeed endless.
If the most coveted commodity of the Information Age is indeed information, then the value of deep Web content is immeasurable. —BrightPlanet.com