The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld

Jamie Bartlett. Melville (Random, dist.), $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61219-489-9
Bartlett, a technology columnist for the Telegraph, takes readers on an engaging if occasionally disturbing tour of the Internet's darker corners. While some associate the term "dark net" with the deeper levels untraveled by most casual users, Bartlett expands the designation to include more accessible niches as well, including sites for child pornography, racial supremacists, suicide forums, and camgirls. These Internet underworlds are "worlds of freedom and anonymity, where users say and do what they like, often uncensored, unregulated, and outside of society's norms," Bartlett writes. As he explores the evolution and nature of trolling online and traces its origins back to the dawn of the Internet itself, he likewise examines the function of identity in a setting where you can reinvent yourself endlessly, for good and bad, and how it impacts the real world. He looks at how the Internet fosters communities brought together by every interest imaginable. He also touches upon the evolution of commerce and illicit transactions, visiting the famed Silk Road website to see all that's available for those who dare. While some of these revelations come as little surprise—pornography online is hardly a secret—this is still a lively, darkly informative work. Readers may find some of the frankness and subject matter upsetting, though, as Bartlett hits some controversial subjects (e.g., pro-anorexia and pro-suicide websites) along the way. Agent: Caroline Michel, Peters Fraser & Dunlop (U.K.). (June)
Reviewed on: 06/15/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-61219-521-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5414-0461-8
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