The closest thing I have seen to the black market are the vendors selling knock-off watches and sunglasses on the streets of Washington DC and New York City. But apparently we are all only a few keystrokes away from accessing the “Deep Web,” which has become the online haven for the likes of drug-dealers, for-hire killers and child pornographers.
There’s a lot to understand about the Deep Web and its corruption, but here is what you need to know. Deep Web content is not searchable via traditional search engines like Google or Yahoo. You would not stumble upon a site in the deep web; you have to know how to get there. Software has been developed that allows users total privacy. This privacy software was actually funded in part by the US government. All of this combined with new forms of anonymous digital currency has allowed for a nearly fool proof online black market. According to Time magazine’s recent cover story, “there is evidence that jihadists communicate through it and that botnets—massive networks of virus-infected computers employed by spammers—use it to hide from investigators. Even now it’s the work of a minute or two to find weapons or child pornography on the Deep Web.”
There is some good news to this story though. This summer and fall, the FBI made large strides in tracking down these online criminals who thought they were completely unknown. Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the Silk Road—an eBay-like site that allowed drug dealers and killers to sell their products and services with user reviews—was arrested after hiring an undercover FBI agent to kill someone. There have been many international arrests as well. “These arrests send a clear message to criminals,” said Keith Bristow, head of Britain’s National Crime Agency. “The hidden Internet isn’t hidden, and your anonymous activity isn’t anonymous. We know where you are, what you are doing, and we will catch you.”
I can remember times in my life when I had a “deep web” in my heart. I did not want anyone to see it, especially God.
During his most famous sermon, Jesus taught us that if we harbor anger against anyone in our hearts it condemns us just as if we had murdered them. Or if we look at another with lustful intent it makes us equal with adulterers in God’s eyes. He was explaining that not one of us can live up to the standard of God’s law. At the beginning of this sermon, Jesus explains the poor in spirit are blessed and will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). Someone who is poor in spirit is someone who knows their brokenness and understands Proverbs 28:13-14—”Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”
The truth is, there is no part of our hearts that are unsearchable. We can do nothing without God knowing. Tim Keller explains “we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.”