The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld

Book review by Deane Barker tags: hacking, tech

So, this book didn’t teach me anything new, but it was interesting, and had some good information about early Internet history, which I appreciate.

The book has a chapter on each of a variety of “dark” things that the Net plays host to:

  • Trolling

  • Racism and Hate Groups

  • Bitcoin and Crypto-Currency (more specifically, the illegal things they allow)

  • Silk Road and Illegal Commerce

  • Child Pornography

  • Camming

  • Perpetuation and Encouragement of Self-Harm

  • Transhumanism (not represented as bad, so much, just different)

Each chapter is will with analogies and examples. It’s well-documented with considerable end notes and references.

The author writes well. It’s breezy – I got through all 240-pages in 3-4 hours of plane flights.

Again, there wasn’t much new here. If you have considerable experience with the internet, you sort of know that this stuff is going on. Still, some of the analogies are pretty harrowing, and I really enjoyed all the reference to the early internet history of the 80s and the 90s.

I did enjoy Suler’s “online disassociation effect,” which are the supposed reasons that people do mean/dumb/illegal things online:

  • Dissociative anonymity (“You don’t know me”)

  • Invisibility (“You can’t see me”)

  • Asynchronicity (“See you later”)

  • Solipsistic Introjection (“It’s all in my head”)

  • Dissociative Imagination (“It’s just a game”)

  • Minimization of Status and Authority (“Your rules don’t apply here”)

It’s an interesting framework for understanding how people feel and act online.

Book Info

Jamie Bartlett
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A hardcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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