After last week’s uncomfortable look at the accessible nature of child pornography on the dark web, we finally get back into more “safe” (for lack of a better word) material with Dark Net‘s fourth episode, “CTRL.”
As is implied by the episode’s title, “CTRL” deals primarily with content moderation and protection through the use of the internet and the dark web and the issue of who is really in control.
The first story is about a woman who works for a search engine as a content moderator, largely focusing on the way that image searches are controlled and moderated for accuracy and graphic nature. While this is something that is necessary online, it’s something that most people (including me) don’t really think about. It’s crazy how something of this nature can have such an effect on the people that have to view it, but it makes sense that someone could experience things like PTSD after so much exposure to terrible images of this nature.
The second story in “CTRL” is about “black hat” hackers that earn their living on the dark web and the “white hat” hackers that attempt to stop them and protect the rest of the online society. It also talks about a hacker that has already been caught and the limits placed on him by the government as part of his punishment. It’s absolutely crazy how inexpensive it can be to access 90% of the world’s online infrastructure, even if it’s true that you have to possess the intelligence to know what to do with the tools and information.
The final story in the episode is of a “digital hall monitor” that serves as a content moderator for schools and students around the world. It is her job to make sure that students aren’t doing anything illegal or immoral and to report any serious offenses to the right authorities in order to keep people safe. The most interesting aspect of this story to me is the explanation of why it’s necessary for a human to do this job, largely due to the simple fact that computers can’t understand things like context.
The large picture in “CTRL” is the idea that the users are beginning to take control of their world and the internet because of the relative freedom that they have and the lack of extensive preventative measures that are effective when they’re even taken. What I took away from the episode is that there just isn’t a good enough way to prosecute and punish those that use the internet for harm, and the things that are done are either ineffective or, honestly, unjust. There needs to be a better way of dealing with things like this, but I don’t have any more of an answer than anyone else. The biggest flaw in “CTRL,” interestingly enough, is the biggest strength that the first three episodes had: its lack of bias. I’m not saying that the episode should have shown a clear bias toward anything, but the content in this particular episode could have benefited more from the producers taking a stand on any of these stories (particularly with the hacker one). Still, it was an interesting episode that presented good information.
“CTRL,” just like the previous episodes of Dark Net, was a well-made episode that presented solid and needed information to the audience, but it definitely suffered a bit in that the content of the episode could have been strengthened with just a little bit more subjectivity.
What did you think of “CTRL?” Are you enjoying Dark Net? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!