What with all the fuss about the NSA and the Tor privacy system and the consequent influx of new users to the amazingly easy-to-use Tor bundle, it seem natural that a new Tor search-engine has just launched and is being covered by the likes of Venturebeat. The TorSearch engine claims to search the deep/dark Web (hidden pages that are only accessible to those running a Tor connection). TorSearch seems a little underpopulated. For example, it’s difficult to believe that only one site on the deep/dark Web offers to sell the drug Modafinil (the keyword I used as a safe test). That said, TorSearch’s one result (from the Netherlands) did actually look like it might be happy to take some shiny bitcoins from swivel-eyed Modafinil snorters. Which is more than can be said for what appears to be the incumbent Tor search engine called Torch. From Torch came three results for “Modafinil” dated from 2013 — two being anonymous drug-use diaries, and the other occurrence being in what seemed to be a sort of weird parody manifesto (from one of the old anarchist document libraries that seem to have pride of place on l33t hackawarez sitez). Judging from my brief visit to the deep Web search engines, I don’t think Google has any competition just yet — at least in a “students just wanna buy some modafinil for their exams” scenario.

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