October 2, 2021
At some point during the day, you've probably done some sort of search on the internet. That is what's called using the surface web which is published publicly, doesn't require a paywall or logins to access it. Dark web content is accessed through particular browsers that use The Onion Route, or .TOR instead of .com.
In the disappearance of Cassidy Rainwater, the FBI did receive a tip from someone that provided evidence in mid-September, allegedly from the dark web, that showed Cassidy Rainwater being tortured and terrorized while being held in a cage on property at 386 Moon Valley Road near Windyville, Missouri, where James D. Phelps lived.
Rainwater has been missing since late July. A family member reported her missing in August. When authorities went to the Moon Valley property to talk with Phelps last month, he told them that he was helping Cassidy get back on her feet by letting her live in the loft of his cabin and that the last time he saw her was late July walking down his driveway in the middle of the night. The loft area had been "stripped," according to court documents.
When law enforcers asked to look at Phelps' phone, they allegedly found seven images of Cassidy, partially clothed and in obvious distress.
Phelps and Timothy Norton are facing multiple charges, including kidnapping, related to Cassidy's disappearance.It has been alleged that Phelps belonged to a cannibalism site on the dark web and that authorities are looking into the complex matrix that is the dark web and people who interacted with the men online.
It was reported last week that authorities in Greene County had been pulled off the Phelps/Norton case. A law enforcement source close to the investigation tells me that Greene County investigators are still assisting in the complex investigation.
Dallas County sheriff Scott Rice says investigators are waiting for DNA evidence to come back from the crime lab and that could take up to 30 days.
The dark web isn't illegal, but it is known to be used by people who don't want to be traced. It isn't indexed, and won't show up in any normal searches.
Unlike typical browsers, the Tor Browser employs onion routing, which uses encryption and directs traffic through multiple servers around the world to keep the searcher’s IP address anonymous — allowing for private searching. The many layers of an onion represent the multiple layers of encryption and privacy in the Tor network.
Legal Uses of the Dark Web
While using the dark web may seem suspect on the surface, it is perfectly legal, and there are many legitimate uses of Tor and anonymous browsing. For example, in countries where government surveillance may be used to spy on and oppress political dissidents, the dark web is often a place for communication that avoids government censorship and scrutiny. Despite these added layers of security, users should still be cautious using the dark web and take proper security measures, such as periodically updating their security software, browsing with a robust VPN, and avoiding the use of a standard email address.
Illegal Uses of the Dark Web
Given its anonymous nature, the dark web is also used for illicit and even illegal purposes. These include the buying and selling of illegal drugs, weapons, passwords, and stolen identities, as well as the trading of illegal pornography and human trafficking. Several sites hosting illegal material have been discovered by government agencies and shut down in recent years, including Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Hansa.