Access to information: Fake news, dark webs and other cobwebs

In October 2019, the BBC made its news site available via the TOR network, free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication. The TOR browser is privacy-focused software used to access the dark web (those many layers of the internet that cannot be found using a search engine).

Traffic on the TOR browser is routed across the network via multiple nodes which make it hard to locate or identify individual users. The BBC’s initiative is designed to enable people in locations where authorities block access to international news to continue to access the site. The BBC’s Arabic, Persian, Russian news sites are available, as well as the English language international edition. The BBC says that the past few years “have been tough for those who hoped that the internet would enhance trust and transparency. Instead, fake is the word most used to describe online culture as we head into 2020. Fake news. Fake followers. Fake reviews. Deepfakes.” The Oxford Internet Institute saw evidence of social media election manipulation in 70 countries in 2019, up from 48 countries in 2018, and 28 in 2017. Typically whereas technology creates new challenges and dangers, it also creates new opportunities to address those problems and one of the key technology challenges of the future will be to fight fake and harm. (Source: Trendwatching).

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