Stumbling from Cleethorpes and into a ‘grim internet world’
Question: What do you do in that moment of blind panic when your 12-year-old son stumbles upon the secret world of vice and illegality you thought was well hidden on the family computer?
Options: (a) confess all, (b) slip your son a fiver to keep quiet, or (c) report it to the police, write to the Home Secretary, and parade you and your son in the pages of the local paper with Gazette Faces in order to prove it’s got nothing to do with your own online browsing habits.
Grimsby Telegraph, 19 January 2013 (story):
‘Dark web’ warning to parents as Cleethorpes boy stumbles on grim internet world
A 12-YEAR-old boy from Cleethorpes stumbled across an internet underworld selling guns and sex with underage girls while looking for games online.
His appalled father now wants to spread the word to other parents and has even written to the Home Secretary about it.
Robert Palmer, 53, of Arundel Place, Cleethorpes, was horrified when his son Morgan, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), told him what he had unearthed.
The computer whiz had found an ominous tutorial, explaining how to download a different web server, which he did, that unveiled the whole section of the internet not available to normal users.
Services advertised on the dark web include guns, contract killers, drugs, credit card skimmers, sex, child and animal pornography and identities for sale, which can be bought using an online currency called Bitcoins.
Sounds like a whole Narnia of sin. Not one to be selfish, the concerned moral crusader was keen to share news of this ‘whole section of the internet not available to normal users’ with other parents.
Mr Palmer said: “There is nothing you can’t get on there and some of it is pretty grim, so I think that other parents should know about it.
“Young people could get hold of drugs without even meeting a drug dealer, which is worrying. Morgan is sensible and luckily he told me.
Mr Palmer, who writes computer programmes himself, contacted Humberside Police but was told nothing could be done – although they have offered advice to parents and assured them that calls will be taken seriously.
Frustrated, he has written to Home Secretary Theresa May about the dark web, urging her to take action to protect the public from such blatant illegality.
Morgan, a gifted pupil at Cleethorpes Academy, said: “This is the mother-load of criminal websites – some of the things on there are appalling. I knew what it was straight away so I went to get my dad.”
It’s a bit out of order for little Morgan to drag his mother into this sordid episode.