The Dark Web

The Hague, Netherlands

26th September 2017

Technology has revolutionized policing practices and at the same time it has facilitated criminality. The Dark Web has emerged as a digital space where content has been intentionally concealed and users can surf anonymously. It is used for several legitimate purposes, such as to perform marketing tracking, to circumvent censorship and to conduct research on topics that might be sensitive in certain countries. At the same time, the Dark Web facilitates “high tech” and organized crime. Anonymity is a key element for illegal activities on the Dark Web: identities are concealed via the Onion Browser (TOR) and virtual currencies such as Bitcoin are used largely anonymously.

The policing of crime on the Dark Web raises a number of issues. Traditional  approaches bring limited success in a cybercrime community that can develop countermeasures fast. “One size-fits-all” approaches against crime on the Dark Web hold little promise, since there are a wide variety of crimes occurring. “Total-block” strategies, i.e. based on shuttering down all anonymous networks, are impossible. The challenge is to find a balance between individual freedoms, such as freedom of speech, and the need to fight crime. Innovative and carefully chosen countermeasures that can apply in an international context  must be developed.

This workshop aims to create a common vision and agenda for the policing of the Dark Web.  It will provide a forum for sharing of best practices and lessons learned among European security professionals and other actors. We will consider who should be involved in providing public security on the Dark Web, how should they be organised and how they should operate.

In the spectrum of illegal activities facilitated by the Dark Web, which includes child sex abuse and services fostering violent extremism, we will particularly look at crypto-markets. These are digital spaces where the illegal trade of drugs, weapons and crime-as-a-service is conducted. Although based on digital communication and digital transactions, crypto-markets have a negative effect on the physical public safety. We will look at the capabilities, resources and innovations that should be developed to fight crime on the Dark Web effectively.

The workshop will provide a forum for creative and open-minded dialogue on these and other current  challenges, Dark Web-related practices and strategic, organisational and operational experiences.

Preliminary Workshop Outline

  • What happens on the Dark Web? And what aspects challenge public security? – context and problem discussion
  • What are today’s best practices of policing the Dark Web? – at strategic, organisational and operational level
  • What does the common future vision look like? – design and develop together
  • How can we get there? – roadmap and action plan

Keynotes are delivered by both academic and law enforcement professionals (names to be disclosed shortly), with a strategic, operational and organizational experience on Dark Web policing.

This workshop is organised by TNO.  It will take place within the Hague Cyber Security Week 2017 (25 -29 September) during which The Hague is the centre for the cyber security community. Dozens of events will provide the opportunity to meet key players, discuss the latest developments, share knowledge and pitch innovative ideas for funding. The Cyber Security Week is powered by The Hague Security Delta.

The Venue

The Hague Security Delta, The Hague, Netherlands

Who Can Participate?

Places at this event are limited and delegates have been selected from applications received by the closing date. If you have been successful you will receive notification and further details of the event shortly. If you have been unsuccessful on this occasion or have missed the deadline it will still be possible to follow the event via Twitter on the day.

Participation costs

Participation at the event is free of charge. Successful applicants will be offered assistance with their travel and accommodation costs in accordance with European Commission regulations.

Further details and questions

Further details will be shared with confirmed participants before the event. For other questions please contact Dr. Serena Oggero at darkwebworkshop@nulltno.nl or call 0031646847414.


  • TNO Innovation for Life
  • Hague Cyber Security Week

Register your interest in this workshop

Applications for this event have now closed. Successful applicants will be notified shortly with further details.