Jake Prosser

Years ago, when I first installed Tor and discovered the dark web, it was really cool. Here was a place on the internet where I could say whatever I wanted to say, do whatever I wanted to do—I could really be myself, you know? And then my 56-year-old mother decided to join. So yeah, that pretty much seals it. The dark web officially sucks now.

That’s too bad. It used to be fun going on there to anonymously purchase high-grade drugs, stolen credit card numbers, and industrial hacking tools. Not anymore. Now my mom is on the dark web doing the exact same things as me. Just this morning she was browsing TradeRoute for the best deals on MDMA, no doubt while sitting at our family’s desktop computer and sipping her first cup of coffee. She even messaged my friend MalPwned and chatted with him about Bulgarian amphetamine suppliers.


God, it’s so embarrassing.

I should have known the moment she got an I2P router that it was all over. Why is she even on here? Why can’t she let me do my own thing in peace? Is that too much to ask? Instead, she’s posting pointless minutia about lightly patrolled North Korean border crossings, or trying to share a guide on how to get pangolin meat through U.S. customs but forgetting to include the attachment.

Once your mom starts popping up on all your favorite forums and swapping terabytes of high-def pornography, the magic is kind of lost.


At this point, the whole dark web seems super lame. Once your mom starts popping up on all your favorite forums and swapping terabytes of high-def pornography, the magic is kind of lost. I can’t even log on anymore without her private-messaging me and asking for help with a Bitcoin transaction or advice on running a phishing scam. The worst is when she tries to PM someone and accidentally posts it publicly. It’s like, Mom, everyone can see your requests for “legit Afghan hash shipped to Roanoke, VA—ASAP.” And could you stop with the stupid winking smiley emoticons?

The other day we went out for lunch and she started talking, loud as you please, about how easy it would be to just go online and hire a contract killer if she ever wanted to. It was so fucking humiliating.


She’s started getting my aunt into it, too, so they can visit all the gun-trafficking forums together. As if it weren’t annoying enough to have my mom pestering me with all these inane technical questions, I now have a mailbox full of outstanding requests for help setting up an OTR encryption key from my Aunt Terri. I’m sorry, but if she wants to run a weapons ring without arousing suspicion from Interpol or the ATF, she’s just going to have to read a tutorial and figure it out for herself.

Of course, whether my relatives are on the dark web or not, I guess I’ll continue to use it. It’s still the best way to check out snuff films from the self-harm community, or anonymously pass a cache of state secrets to an editor at Der Spiegel. It’s just not cool anymore—at all. And there’s always the chance that when I escrow some Zcash into my Waterhole account for a black-market kidney, the seller could turn out to be my mom.


So thanks, Mom. I hope you’re having loads of fun. Just please, please stop calling me by my actual name on message boards! Half the people on here are FBI. And I don’t want to have to start going to Thailand to buy my orphan slaves in person.