If you are reading this, then you probably know all about the TOR project and what it does.
Anyone with enough technical knowledge can build a website on the deep web with a .onion domain.
Unlike traditional websites that can be found via Google, hidden websites on the TOR network reveal nothing about its location or who created it.
This of course means that no one knows exactly how many websites there are on the deep web.
Well, everything could be about to change.
The TOR project leader, Roger Dingledine, wants to start collecting more information about hidden services without harming privacy.
This would include the total number hidden websites that exist and how much of the TOR network load they account for.
“It should help researchers understand the breakdown of Tor traffic, how hidden services are distributed and advertised, and hopefully help others understand how much privacy hidden services can provide,” Tor executive director Andrew Lewman told the Daily Dot.
Hidden websites are probably TOR’s most famous use, but even experts can only offer educated guesses for how the technology is actually used.
Probably one of the most famous hidden services, Silk Road was able to operate without any issues for two years because it was only accessible via TOR and was therefore extremely difficult for law enforcement to track down.
Many more uncensored websites of all kinds survive as hidden services on the TOR network.
Experts say that a staggering 96% of the internet is actually part of the “deep web”.
The hidden service, Freedom Hosting was accused by the FBI in 2013 as being “the largest facilitator of child exploitation in the world.”
It was also the biggest web host on the TOR network.
After Freedom Hosting was shut down, there was a dramatic reduction in the amount of hidden services and experts wondered if over half of all hidden services had suddenly been killed during the international police operation.
If Dingledine’s plan goes through, similar events would more easily understood.
The new statistics would be incorporated into the TOR metrics portal.
The TOR metrics portal provides insight into the vague and intricate network.
The portal currently tallies numbers like total users, network performance, and user origin.
Developing and coding the software to track hidden service statistics will require significant funding, so the Tor Project has proposed the idea to an unspecified funder.
Lewman declined to reveal who the funder is or how much money the project would require.
If the project doesn’t get funded by an investor, the project would rely on volunteers to take up the task over time.
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