Michael Bywater

A flashlight into the cellar of the lawless ‘dark net’

A review of The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld, by Jamie Bartlett. Essential reading for anyone engaged with the web and the effects it is having on our culture

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, and I wonder whether its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, would still have given it away had he known where it would be now. Had he foreseen Google and Facebook and Twitter, the conquest of web porn and the normalisation among teen-agers of misogyny and sodomy, the endless harvesting and mining of data, the surveillance, the cruelty and vulgarity and invasive crassness, the commercialisation of everything — would he still have said, ‘Have it for free, in the common good’?

That’s a question that only he can answer.

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