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DARPA Is Developing a Search Engine For the Dark Web

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Members of the U.K. Mines Rescue Service searching for survivors in the dark.

U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are working on a search engine to access the Dark Web.

Credit: BBC

Researchers at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are developing Memex, a search engine designed to access the Dark Web and uncover patterns and relationships in online data to help law enforcement track illegal activity.

"The main issue we're trying to address is the one-size-fits-all approach to the Internet where [search results are] based on consumer advertising and ranking," says Memex program manager Chris White. He says Memex will achieve this goal by scraping content from traditional websites and analyzing thousands of sites on the Dark Web, which have .onion Web addresses and are accessible only through the TOR browser and only to those who know a site's specific address.

Part of the Memex project seeks to determine how much of TOR traffic is related to Hidden Services sites. "We think there are, at any given time, between 30,000 and 40,000 Hidden Service Onion sites that have content on them that one could index," White says. The content on Hidden Services is public, because it is not password-protected, but is not readily accessible through a commercial search engine.

The researchers also want to find a way to better understand the turnover of such sites, and to use automated methods to analyze that content to find hidden relationships that would be useful to law enforcement, the military, and the private sector.

From Wired News
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