UK gov’t tackles Dark Web with new cybercrime unit

The UK government has launched a dedicated cybercrime unit given the task of tackling serious crime rings and the sexual abuse of children online.

The Dark Web is a tiny area of the Deep Web — a hidden area of the Internet which is not indexed by search engines — used to conduct illegal activity as well as more legitimate purposes such as activism. In order to visit certain websites, visitors must find the correct.onion address while using the surveillance-busting Tor browser.

There are online marketplaces and forums selling everything from drugs to fake or stolen passports and weaponry, but unfortunately due to the Dark Web’s concealed nature, it can also act as a place to find illegal pornography, such as child exploitation.

Now, UK law enforcement hopes to bring the Dark Web out of the shadows.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and UK intelligence outfit GCHQ are working together through the new unit, dubbed the Joint Operations Cell (JOC), according to a press releaseissued by the NCA.

Launched last week, the JOC will bring together officers from both agencies to focus on child pornography and abuse through online sources.

The department was first announced at the We Protect Children Online Global Summit in December 2014. At the time, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said GCHQ will provide the technical expertise while the NCA will loan investigators able to analyse child abuse images found through the Dark Web.


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Camilla Wood

UK based Legal Aid Lawyer

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