DeepArcher Protocol

The aspect of Bleeding Edge I want to touch upon is the program DeepArcher. DeepArcher is, in my interpretation a standard for the users to navigate through the Deep Web. Pynchon describes the Deep Web as an abyss, without form, but still has substance. This is contrasted with the structured visuals of the surface web, with its cities and highways. So one can say that DeepArcher is a protocol that people use to access the Deep Web, a protocol that can be used to control.

At first glance DeepArcher seems to be beyond any sort of control. Unlike the hierarchical or decentralized networks that Galloway describes, DeepArcher seems to be the perfect distributed network. The program seems to be completely beyond conventional methods of control. It doesn’t save any records of where its been, it only knows its immediate destination, and later in the novel, it is shown that the algorithm used to determine the path it takes is generated by the most random pseudo random number generator in existence.

However in chapter 33, it is revealed that even DeepArcher was at risk of falling under some sort of control. Galloway’s 4th chapter on Institutionalization is a look into how protocol can fail. If a group of people can define a protocol, then it would mean that it would fall under their control.

“To be precise, many believe that bureaucratic organizations such as
ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) are
synonymous with protocol because they regulate and control the Net. But
the opposite is true.Organizations like ICANN are the enemy of protocol
because they limit the open, free development of technology.”(Galloway, 121)

Vyrva tells Maxine that Justin and Lucas were paranoid that Ice stole their DeeArcher source code and was going to patent it for himself. This is what Galloway describes as the failure of protocol, not by its own mistakes, but because we restrict its usage. Here it is clearly shown that Ice was attempting to institutionalize DeepArcher. That would allow people to restrict its usage to perhaps government organizations only, or weaken its security and anonymity to allow for easier spying.

This issue in Bleeding Edge is circumvented by Lucas and Justin, who eventually release their program as open source. While it is not a surefire solution, since anyone can access the source code. They attempt to stop the failure of their protocol by broadening the scope of their program and giving access to it to as many people as possible.

DeepArcher is the epitome of what Galloway describes as protocol. It is a management system to allow people to access areas of the Internet that is considered chaos or disorder, the Deep Web. It injects a solution to the issue of navigating the Deep Web, which has no hierarchy or form of control. However, the mere ability to navigate the Deep Web would in essence allow someone a form of control over the Deep Web. While DeepArcher was immune from tampering for a time, there are outside threats that would have made it into a tool for control.

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5 Responses to DeepArcher Protocol

  1. djs125 says:

    Your comparison of DeepArcher to Protocol really helped me to understand the program better. Throughout this whole novel I have been confused by this DeepArcher thing and how it works, but after reading this it is a little clearer for me. So DeepArcher is just an access to the deep web and is privately owned by Justin and Lucas and then when the random numbers aren’t so random anymore people start to get in that normally wouldn’t be able to. And they believe Ice got in to take it over and use it for his own purposes. So before DeepArcher was open it was a protocol and now that it is an open source it is like the organization ICANN. This comparison to Protocol really helped me to understand this DeepArcher a little better.


  2. useltime says:

    Your explanation of DeepArcher as a vehicle through which one can navigate the Deep Web and ultimately lead to some form of power over it drew my attention to the parallels of control in the novel. You describe DeepArcher as being “beyond conventional methods of control,” due to its’ lack of traceability and predictability. This led me to think about the shift in control between Lucas/Justin and the hackers (including Gabriel Ice) of DeepArcher, which paralleled the effects of the current events in New York. On 11 September 2001 as this “uncontrollable” program’s code became less random ie “almost controllable by others,” the control that Justin and Lucas had over the program declined just as the United States control of terrorism declined with the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. I believe Pynchon does this to increase the sense of entropy that existed in the lives of those involved with the events of 9/11.


  3. yuc46 says:

    Great ideas. I hold the same opinion with you about ideas for the DeepArcher Program. Also, I agree with you about Deep Archer is an access to the Deep Web and ideas about randomness in the Deep Archer Program. However, you have a better understanding than me. I did not notice that the relationships between Protocol and DeepArcher program before i read your response. Nice response.


  4. Mingyue Yan says:

    I do think that you helped me with this DeepArcher thing because I felt kind of confused when I was reading the Bleeding Edge. I cannot tell what DeepArcher really is but I can feel or think something about it. Your explanation is certain clear and tell something I think and something I never think about. I agreed you said that DeepArcher seems to be beyond any sort of control and I even thought it is perfect before we found it risky to lose control.


  5. dfw1alskare says:

    I think it is very interesting that you are drawing parallels between Galloway’s ideas of protocol and the nature of DeepArcher in Bleeding Edge, but I am having trouble following your line of thought because it might be helpful to get textual support from Pynchon’s text. Especially when you write (about DeepArcher), “It is a management system to allow people to access areas of the Internet that is considered chaos or disorder, the Deep Web,” I am not absolutely certain where I stand with that because at some points it did not seem to me that DeepArcher was a method of accessing areas of internet that are chaotic. What I thought was interesting about DeepArcher post-9/11 is the idea that it has become a way of losing oneself as one goes deeper. On page 403, we are in Maxine’s thoughts; “She pauses in the uneasy melismas of desert wind. Suppose it’s all about losing, not finding. What has she lost? […] What is she trying to lose?” This I found particularly interesting in relation to the events that had occurred and have resonated with many New Yorkers and, ultimately, Americans. It seemed that the incentive of DeepArcher, the protocol, has entirely changed and that is seen directly through Maxine. If you pull from both texts as you make your argument, I think it will make your point much stronger because I think there’s something there, especially in relation to Galloway.


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