Dark-Net Regulation: Is it Possible to Regulate the Dark-Web?


The dark-web has been the center of debate for many years now. Many have called for the government to regulate it. Although at may see impossible, it is to some extent. The anonymity provided by the onion routing has allowed criminals to host their illicit activities online. Some call it the dark-net a raging crisis.

Considering the dynamic nature of the dark-web, it is not a simple thing to regulate. Law makers must first understand how the technology works. Understanding the workings of onion routing would instigate intelligent debates. This will allow suitable policies to be set in place.

A Debate on Policies

The largest concerns regarding dark-net regulations are in determining the roles of enforcement. What parts of the government will be responsible for regulating it. Different agencies will be responsible for different parts.

Additionally, the government needs to explore effective solutions when it comes to regulations. Regulating the dark-net is not an easy task at all. Good solutions are required to avoid expected gridlocks that will arise from such polices.

The United States government has tried creating such regulations. Their hope was to create an example for other nations to follow. An effort led by the U.S. resulted in refined dark-net related policies. This was meant to serve as a yardstick for the international community to follow.

In the end, the plan the U.S. had failed. As mentioned in the second paragraph it is not easy to regulate the dark web. To achieve sufficient regulations, a good understanding of the technology is required. Theoretical concepts surrounding the regulation of such technology must be approached cautiously.

Trying to apply overly strict and rushed regulations is not a great idea. This will result in more harm than good. This only undermines peoples liberties. Not just that, but this provides a breeding ground to monumental policy gridlock.

The point is that the regulation of the dark-net cannot occur in isolation. All parties - stakeholders mush be involved. This is to ensure that the regulations are do not overstep their mandate. The main goal is to provide a clean, non illicit underground internet.

The Main Policy Issues

We are about to see all the aspects that dark-net regulations must follow. This is to clearly define the path of the regulations while preserving the values of internet users. This and the administrative structures that govern their existence must remain intact.

The Governments Role in Regulating the Dark-Net

Just like with every emerging technology, it is important for the government to establish regulations. For proper regulations, an appropriate framework must be established. It is not as simple as slapping an existing regulatory framework on new technology.

As it appears, most governments have failed to provide such a framework. Much needed and anticipated laws regarding technological advancements have been lagging behind. One example of such a failure involved the U.S. government. The U.S. tried using old legislation as means to regulate the telecommunication and the internet.

The regulations surrounding the dark web are a completely new example of this. The failure to regulate shows that a new framework is required. Vague laws that are not perfect and filled with loopholes allow its economy to thrive.

In this context, regulating tor becomes a very difficult task. Using Tor is not a criminal offense. In-fact, anyone can use tor and it is completely legal. To regulate the dark-net, the government needs some way to determine criminal traffic. This is made very hard due to the privacy nature surrounding onion routing. The simplest way to regulate it would be to outright ban tor but many argue that is against their liberty.

Proper Intervention Tactics

The government faces countless challenges surrounding the regulation of the dark-net. First, the nature of the internet. It being international and not local makes it extremely complicated. To overcome this issue, international collaboration between governments is required. The other issue is determining criminal traffic. New methods to uncover tor traffic must be employed.

The truth is that this is one of the most difficult tasks the government faces. Shutting down the dark-web without undermining anonymity. Many users on the dark-net are innocent but the government cannot know that. To determine if a person is innocent requires compromising their anonymity or outright banning it.

The most probable tactic at this point is to somehow target the anonymity of known dark-net users. This requires access to servers hosting illicit activity or specific algorithms. Algorithms can be trained to identify market traffic just by viewing packet data. This is a temporary solution as it is easy to work around it. Being the United States, the most likely scenario is de-anonymizing every Tor user. By doing so, dark-net users can be determined and in-turn will seize to exist.


Governments have been seeking ways to regulate the dark-web for years. It is one of the most complicated tasks they're facing when it comes to the dark net. Achieving such regulations requires people educated when it comes to the technology. Not just that, but the invention of new technology is required in order to fully regulate it without outright banning Tor. Needless to say, criminals will always find new ways to conduct their activity online. New ways to hide traffic will be invented. Not only that, but if needed, criminals will most likely switch to safer peer-to-peer solutions like I2P.