Not trusting the Internet used to mean avoiding a sketchy seller on eBay or not giving your banking information to Paypal. Today the freedom to interact and transact online free from Government opinion has been breached. The Darknet is a sliver of the digitally connected world where anonymity is the standard protocol and expression is not prohibited by government austerity.
The Darknet is not a criminal haven, but as in all societies, criminal behavior does exist. Freedom to communicate internationally is not a crime as recent NSA surveillance systems are designed to suggest. The Darknet was designed to protect political dissidents and those who are seeking out new information on the web. Similarly, we protect library readers checkout history, however this digital enclave takes us a step further, offering completely anonymous reading.
The most straightforward way to connect to the Darknet is by using Tor, https://www.torproject.org/ , the free and open network that protects against complete network monitoring. During the Arab Spring, digiterati around the world welcomed repressed citizens using Tor with a safe way out from dictatorship surveillance.
To take privacy with you anywhere you go, Tails https://tails.boum.org/ , is a complete operating system bootable from a burned DVD or USB drive that preserves your anonymity and leaves no trace on the computer you’re using. A similar flavor of Tor is available on mobile Android called Orbot, enabling your mobile device to connect to the Darknet for mobile browsing. iPhones are widely accepted as a non-secure devices from surveillance monitoring due to a non-removed battery pack and a closed operating source platform.
The loss of the dream of a connected Internet is truly tragic.