There are about 5 billion active internet users today – equivalent to 63 percent of the global population. People use the Internet for different reasons. The Dark Web, a hidden portion of the Internet that isn’t indexed by search engines, is preferred by those seeking anonymity. Your internet activities on the Dark Web are encrypted, making it difficult for others to trace them.
This part of the Internet can only be accessed using a special browser known as Tor. You can use the Dark Web to look up all kinds of stuff anonymously, including internet porn. But the dark web is also where all sorts of shady things happen, and it’s easy to stumble on something that can get you in trouble with law enforcement.
With so many sex crimes in the news based on so many things, you may be wondering what is illegal to browse on the Dark Web. That’s an essential question since Internet use can lead to criminal charges and even prison time, particularly on the Dark Web.
The Dark Web is Not Illegal
Before we go any further, let’s clarify that using the Dark Web is not illegal in Texas or anywhere in the United States. Despite the ominous undertones in its name, accessing and browsing the Dark Web is entirely legal. What’s illegal is some of the activity on the dark web. But there are many positive reasons for using the Dark Web, too.
Viewing Adult Porn is Not Illegal
Viewing adult pornography on the Internet is not illegal in Texas. What constitutes pornography? In Texas, any visual or written material depicting lewd or sexual acts intended to cause arousal is considered pornography. Pornography is protected by law throughout the United States. To legally view porn anywhere on the Internet in the state of Texas, one must:
- Be at least 18 years old, which constitutes an adult under Texas law
- Never share obscene content with any person under the age of 18
- View material portraying minors, i.e., persons 18 years or older.
As you can see, there are certain cases where viewing pornography on the dark web might land you in hot water. The Texas Penal Code and federal law expressly prohibit the possession, distribution, or promotion of child pornography. Violating these laws can lead to extensive prison time, fines, and lifetime registry as a sex offender.
Internet Porn Laws in Texas
As long as you are 18 years or older, there are no laws prohibiting internet porn in Texas. However, viewing or accessing material that depicts a child younger than 18 years of age with intent to view is illegal under Texas law. Child porn offenses in Texas can be considered first-, second-, or third-degree felonies depending on circumstances.
These offenses can lead to huge fines and lengthy prison offenses if you are found guilty. As you can see, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the law if you are not viewing or downloading pornographic material involving participants under the age of 18 on the dark web. But that’s just Texas law; what does the federal law say?
Federal Laws Targeting Internet Porn
There are quite a few federal laws targeting pornography on the Internet. Most of them are intended to regulate the spread of indecent materials on the Internet and protect minors. But the explosive growth of Internet porn over the past couple of decades has raised some significant legal issues.
For instance, some federal laws targeting internet porn have recently been struck down by courts as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Courts seem to favor defendants asserting that the federal control of internet porn amounts to censorship. However, there’s a critical difference between viewing and downloading internet porn.
For instance, if you accidentally open a website showing illegal porn on the dark web, you probably won’t get in trouble with the law. That’s because viewing, even though it’s still illegal to view this content, is harder to prosecute. However, you could be prosecuted if you download illegal content on the dark web.
Keep in mind that law enforcement agencies have the means to track your IP address, even on the dark web. It can be hard to establish innocence if they find that illegal content has been downloaded. In other words, simply watching porn on the dark web is unlikely to cause you any legal trouble.
What If I Viewed Illegal Pornography by Accident?
While it’s not illegal to go on the dark web, it is illegal to engage in illicit activities while you’re there. Viewing illegal content such as child pornography on the dark web is illegal. If you do, you’ll get in trouble with law enforcement, who have the means to track your IP address on the dark web.
As stated earlier in the article, viewing illegal porn on the dark web by accident is not a crime. However, you have to prove that your actions were accidental, which can be difficult. The dark web can be hard to navigate, and many have stumbled upon illegal porn with no intention of looking at the illicit material. Either way, you could easily find yourself facing criminal charges.
Plano, TX, Internet Sex Crimes Lawyer
There are laws against illegal pornography at the state and federal levels. A conviction relating to child pornography can lead to prison time, huge fines, and a lifelong sex offender registry. A tough Texas internet sex crimes lawyer is your best bet against such accusations, and that’s why you need Attorney Kent Starr of Plano, Texas, in your corner.
Mr. Starr specializes in defending clients facing tough charges like child pornography and other internet sex crimes. Mr. Starr is not a ‘plea’ attorney. He won’t advise you to plead guilty to get a lighter sentence. He will fight for the best possible outcome, even if it means your case has to go to trial.
Mr. Starr is a bail bond attorney, which means you can call him from the Collin County Detention Center to secure your release and obtain legal representation at the same time. If you’ve been arrested or are under investigation for internet sex crimes, contact Attorney Kent Starr today for a free consultation.