i know this might be a goofy question, but i wanted to ask here, i am thinking about making tutorial videos on tor because it fascinates me, and i wanted to find out if it's illegal to create accounts and access websites on tor that provide illegal goods, but however not purchase any of those goods.

i have read some articles online about darkweb markets and some of these markets you simply can't see unless you made an account, and so if it's illegal to make an account on these websites on the darkweb then some journalists might have broken the law.

but before any of that, i wanted to ask you guys and find out, to make sure i wouldn't be recording myself committing a crime or something, thank you.

1st EDIT: someone has said that my question is a duplicate of this post Why is Silk Road criminal but not LocalBitcoins?

my question asks a completely different question then that post, that post asks why the makers and providers of a darknet website are criminal, i am asking if a private 3rd party, who is not the maker of the platform, the pusher of drugs, or the law enforcement hunting these parties, is at fault simply by making an account and passively observing the illegal darkweb market place, am i committing a crime if i do? would i be guilty by association? would i be a accessory to a crime? thanks

2nd EDIT: so this guy named "gorkin" has commented that i need to "reword" my title, but i have no idea what he means and i have no idea how to get in contact with him, or speak to him directly, he said that the "that" in my title can refer to the market places or the accounts themselves, and my question is not about the marketplaces, it's about just passively setting up the accounts on the darkweb marketplaces, i checked the question that someone claims my question is a duplicate of, and it's a completely different question then the question i am trying to ask, so if someone were to just contact me directly and explain to my why they think my question is a duplicate that would be great and i can explain what i mean by my question, thanks.

  • All @grovkin did was to edit the title: using correct English grammar and word choice, it's now easier to read. The meaning of the title, and your question, was not changed. Commented Aug 15, 2020 at 1:04

1 Answer 1


Under United States law, it is not illegal to simply make an account on a forum where criminal activity takes place. The closest thing I can think of would be misprision of felony (AKA failure to report a crime), which requires active concealment (see United States v. Johnson, 546 F.2d 1225 (5th Cir. 1977)). Simply observing evidence of criminal activity and not reporting it would not qualify.

However, if that forum also contains material that is illegal to posses (such as child sexual abuse material), downloading that (even by simply viewing it using your browser) could be a crime.

I would note that I am specifically not advising you whether or not doing any of the other things, like making and publishing tutorial videos on how to access such sites, is likely to get you into trouble with the law. If you want that sort of legal advice, you should contact a lawyer, as the advice is going to be very specific to the exact details.

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