PATRIOT Act author says surveillance key to fighting the 'dark Web'

The author of the PATRIOT Act is recommending social media monitoring and other surveillance methods in order to fight the so-called dark Web, or parts of the Internet used for illicit activity that are inaccessible through standard browsers.

Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush, suggested that government security agencies undertake greater monitoring of social media and consumer data in order to find references to new dark Web domains.

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Additionally, agencies should build profiles of individuals active on the dark Web based on their transactions and conduct semantic analyses of known illicit sites. These actions could help officials anticipate new shifts on the dark Web, which is known for its constant changes to evade tracking.

"The dark Web has the potential to host an increasingly large number of malicious services and activities and,
unfortunately, it will not be long before new large marketplaces emerge," Chertoff wrote in a report with Tobby Simon, president of the not-for-profit Synergia Foundation in Bangalore, India.

"Security researchers have to remain vigilant and find new ways to spot upcoming malicious services to deal with new phenomena as quickly as possible."

The paper was issued by the Global Commission on Internet Governance, a two-year policy working group that will recommend global standards for Internet security and other matters in 2016.

The dark Web refers to domains that are intentionally hidden. It is part of the so-called deep Web, or sites that are not indexed by normal search engines and thus not easily accessible to normal Web users.

The report refers to the dark Web as a "major platform for global terrorism and criminal activities," including murder, hacking, heist and child pornography.