Post 5: “Cultural Mythology” – Misunderstanding and the Deep Web

The first week of core has heavily emphasized the cultural myths created by the Inca and the Spanish about each other. These myths were simply falsehoods created by either party ill intent, whose justification lay solely in their own ignorance. In the case of modern technology like the internet, there is still plenty that is misunderstood, which has lead to the creation of a variety of modern cultural myths. The area of the internet which I believe is most misunderstood, and therefore has plenty of cultural myths surrounding it, is the deep web. Myths about the deep web include the perception that it is synonymous with the dark web, the idea that the deep web is inherently illegal, and the notion that the deep web is place filled with organized and unmonitored criminal activity; all of the above are false, as will be shown in this post.

Despite their names often being used interchangeably, the deep web and the dark web are actually distinct, though related entities. A visual metaphor commonly used to describe the deep web employs the use of an iceberg (Fig. 1). Put simply, if every website in the entirety of the internet is an iceberg, than the surface web, or every page that can be reached easily with a normal search engine like Google or Yahoo, is the iceberg tip. The majority of the iceberg that exists underwater, on the other hand, would be the deep web. Of that section, only a few tens of thousands of pages make up the entirety of what is known as the dark web (which may sound large, but in reality is quite meager compared to the billions of pages present in both the whole deep and even surface web). While sensational media outlets might give the impression that the deep web is a sprawling mass of sketchy and often illegal websites ready to steal your information the moment you happen upon them, that description is only vaguely true for a small minority of the websites that exist in all of the deep web. In reality, the deep web as a whole is comprised almost entirely of unindexed data that can’t be accessed by search engines, such as library records, bank accounts, and any website that has simply disallowed access from search engines.



Figure 1. Badkul, Piyush. “Deep Web Iceberg.” Hacker Noon, Hacker Noon, 13 May 2018,


With its difficult to access nature and illegal activity often tied to its name, one would be forgiven for thinking of the deep web as an inherently sketchy or criminal place. In actuality, of course, this claim is false. Even putting aside the generally mundane and information focused nature of the deep web, fear of the deep web often stems from the supposed anonymity and mystery it grants its users. Although it is true that the difficult to access and generally unorganized state of the deep web does grant some level of confidentiality to those who use it, said confidentiality is not inherently used for criminal purposes. In fact, while the anonymity provided by the deep web can serve as a caveat for criminal activity, it can also be an invaluable tool for government agencies, political whistleblowers, or journalists in places where internet access is restricted. Though the secrecy of the deep web can be seen as a cause for concern, truly such secrecy has served as as a force of good equally to, if not more than, a force of evil.

If one were to simply read every news headline pertaining to the deep web and take it as fact, they would likely get the impression that the place is a terrifying cesspool of all the world’s most sly and devilish criminals. With horror stories of drug trafficking, identity theft, and even assassinations being carried out anonymously are commonly associated with the deep web, specifically with the dark web, one would seem wise to both fear and avoid it. In reality however, the dark web is actually a pretty suboptimal place to commit crimes. There is a saying that “the internet does not forget,” and that applies to the deep web as well. Despite the supposed anonymity granted by the web, essentially all of an individual’s information, from search history, past monetary transactions, or even location, are all readily available to anyone tech savvy enough to find it. This group of tech savvy individuals can, and often does, include government agents and law enforcement officers. Additionally, the idea that the dark web is full of criminal organizations willing to kidnap, torture, or even assassinate for pay is almost completely unfounded. While sites claiming to commit such crimes are commonplace in the dark web, essentially all of them have proven to be hoaxes, and no proof of a legitimate assassination has ever surfaced. Essentially the only true commonplace crimes committed on the dark web are sale of firearms, illegal drug trafficking, and identity theft, all of which are equally commonplace on the surface web.


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Photo by Sebastiaan Stam on


In the case of the Inca and the Spanish, cultural myths were often developed for less than virtuous reasons. Whether to push a political agenda or to simply boost their own nationalistic egos, the myths created by each culture about one another are generally viewed as unsavory in retrospect. It is because of such retrospect that I felt inclined to write an article about current cultural myths. While myths about the internet may not be as heinous as myths about cultures, and the creation of technological myths may not be as intentionally malicious, ignorance and misunderstanding in general is something that I feel should be avoided whenever possible.




Badkul, Piyush. “Deep Web Iceberg.” Hacker Noon, Hacker Noon, 13 May 2018,

Bergman, Michael K. “White Paper: The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value.” Michigan Family Review, Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 1 Aug. 2001,–white-paper-the-deep-websurfacing-h idden-value?rgn=main%3Bview.

Collins, Jerri. “Why Do People Go On The Dark Web?” Lifewire, Lifewire, 23 Oct. 2018,

Ornsby, Eileen. “The Curious Case of Besa Mafia.” All Things VICE, 29 Apr. 2018,

Quinney, Andrew. “Surface Web vs Deep Web vs Dark Web | Service Care Solutions Blogs & News.” Service Care Solutions, 27 June 2016,


2 thoughts on “Post 5: “Cultural Mythology” – Misunderstanding and the Deep Web”

  1. Hi Jamison,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. It was quite informative – I didn’t know the difference between the dark and deep web. I wish you could’ve talked more about the repercussions of these myths though – what would happen if people were to assume that the dark and deep web are synonymous? What happened as a result of the Spanish truly believed that the Incas saw them as gods? I think these would be interesting things to think about for your next post. Good luck on the blog!

    – Megan Ikemoto


  2. Jamison,
    Your blog is highly informative and well-constructed. There are smooth transitions between the core ideas, your main topic, and the lasting message you convey. However, if you included the possible reasons for the creation of the myths surrounding the deep web and more about the lasting effects of these myths your blog post could be better than it already is. Keep up the good work chief.


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