Inconsistencies in Darknet Researches


  • Florian Platzer 1)Fraunhofer SIT, Germany 2)ATHENE, Germany
  • Alexandra Lux 1) TU Darmstadt, Germany 2)University of Hohenheim, Germany



Darknet, Dark web, Tor, Terminology, Review


The darknet terminology is not used consistently among scientific research papers. This can lead to difficulties in regards to the applicability and the significance of the results and also facilitates misinterpretation of them. As a consequence, comparisons of the different works are complicated.

In this paper, we conduct a review of previous darknet research papers in order to elaborate the distribution of the inconsistent usage of the darknet terminology. Overall, inconsistencies in darknet terminology in 63 out of 97 papers were observed. The most common statement indicated that the dark web is a part of the deep web. 19 papers equate the terms darknet and dark web. Others do not distinguish between dark web and deep web, or between deep web and darknet.


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Author Biographies

Florian Platzer, 1)Fraunhofer SIT, Germany 2)ATHENE, Germany

Florian Platzer is a research assistant at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology. He is part of the PANDA project at Fraunhofer SIT. The PANDA project is an interdisciplinary project researching the darknet. Within this project he is responsible for the computer science part. Florian studied IT security at the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. He wrote his master thesis about deanonymization of Tor hidden services.

Alexandra Lux, 1) TU Darmstadt, Germany 2)University of Hohenheim, Germany

Alexandra Lux has been a research assistant in the interdisciplinary project PANDA (Parallel Structures, Activity Forms and User Behavior in the Darknet) since November 2017, and is an associated doctoral student in Sabine Trepte’s Team at the Department of Media Psychology at the University of Hohenheim. In her dissertation, she is investigating communication on social networking sites on the darknet. She studied Mass Media and Communication Science with minors in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Vienna and the University of Ottawa.


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How to Cite

Platzer F, Lux A. Inconsistencies in Darknet Researches. JCSANDM [Internet]. 2023 May 3 [cited 2023 Nov. 28];12(02):187–204. Available from:



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