The BBC ran a scarepiece on the darknet. The article presents this realm* as inhabited by the usual suspects: kiddie porn purveyors, scam artists, terrorists.
On these networks drugs, guns and credit card skimmers are openly on sale. They are places where criminal hackers, professional thieves and, apparently, hitmen advertise their services. Using one of the many web currencies, it is possible to buy lots of stolen credit card numbers, stolen hardware and pay someone to hack into a bank account or company.
Tor comes in for special FUDdery.
It's ironic, or appropriate, that demonizing such tools appears the same week of the NSA scandals, which encouraged many people to seek out these nets for their very darkness.
To be fair, Ward devotes the last part of his article to Phil Zimmerman, who makes a forceful case for encryption's many benefits.
*defined as "so-called "dark nets", such as Tor, I2P, Freenet and many others".