Anonymity and Security while Downloading on Usenet
Since 2007 most providers of Usenet access do not promise total anonymity on their network. They prefer to use the terms “privacy”, “security” or “privately” instead. But what does that mean? Is it anonymous or not? We can reply both “yes” and “no!”
YES: the Usenet network guarantees a certain anonymity (see NO for more clarification of “certain”)
- Confidentiality of transfers and exchanges is very high thanks to SSL. It is largely assumed that because of the particular structure of newsgroups plus SSL (guaranteeing the security of transmission) the probability of monitoring the identity of one Usenet user is practically zero
- In a Newsgroup text discussion, anonymity is guaranteed by the absence of an IP and the possibility of using a fake email address. Additionally, unlike many web forums, reading through posts do not require authentication on the part of the user to access the content.
- When you post a binary file: information about the poster are protected by the NNTP-posting-host header that replaces your upload IP with the Newsgroup server address. The X-TRACE header encrypts any information about the uploader. Logs are kept but only to avoid spam.
- The access provider to Newsgroups avoids monitoring activity. Nothing you download or view through Usenet is monitored. Just the volume of downloaded data, the time of connection and the IP are noted in order to assure any eventual technical support. Being a common carrier service provider, Usenet Service Providers are only responsible for access and not content. Usenet Service Providers canno't control the content that you will receive via Usenet. It would be illogical for them to monitor activity which would oblige them to filter content, a largely impossible task.
- Usenet identification is done by login. Only your Usenet Provider knows it. Your IP will never appear on Usenet and is invisible on the network. Unlike other networks (Torrent) or the internet itself, your IP is never saved and will not remain on the network. SO with a Usenet account you can connect with different IPs since only your login is required for identification.
- Some Usenet Services Providers offer payment methods that are supposedly “anonymous” like Bitcoin or Paysafecard (very popular in Holland).
- All Usenet Service Providers (USA or Holland) will co-operate with the law if required to hand over the logs of a Usenet user (To our knowledge this has never occurred). In other circumstances activity logs - reduced to a minimum - are never shared or divulged. Why this co-operation then?. In the USA and Europe Usenet Service Providers have the status “common carrier” which defines their legal standing. The “common carrier” status for Usenet Service Providers based in the USA or in Holland implies certain legal obligations:
Co-operate with the law in extreme circumstances.
American Usenet Service Providers have to respect the DMCA, while those in the Netherlands follow the NTD Gedragscode (The difference between the DMCA and the NTD is explained on our European Usenet page. The main difference is in the execution of requests, which is longer and less systematic in Europe). What is DMCA-NTD? Infringing content is required to be removed by the common service provider after notice is given. Some of the providers seem to attract more notices than others but all of the big Usenet providers comply with DMCA-NTD notices.
Common carriers must not tamper with the material transmitted. No filtering , no monitoring. They are providing you with unfiltered access to Usenet.
The common carrier is not "authorized or required" to investigate
Usenet benefits from a "legal immunity", a "liability protection" which does not hold them responsible for the content shared on their network. Usenet Service Providers provide access only! Users are responsible for their actions.
Usenet is still around because it has been defended as having common carrier status in the courts. Common carriers guarantees the longevity and balanced system that is Usenet. There is a debate in Holland at the moment to decide if Usenet Service Providers should filter content or not but the situation seem to favour keeping the common carrier status that guarantees network neutrality.
Can we improve the anonymity of the Usenet network? Using VPN does increase anonymity and helps to stay anonymous on Usenet:
We have seen that by its structure, Usenet used to be a network offering relative anonymity. But the main element of anonymity remains in the IP address. But your Usenet Service Provider knows this connection address. Even if there are no logs, your Usenet Service Provider is aware of the IP connection that corresponds to your login (and your account). So if you wanted to protect your connection anonymity you would need a VPN that modifies your ISP IP. Therefore the final link between you and the Usenet Service Provider has disappeared! If your Usenet Service Provider has none of your personal details (payment via Bitcoin + personal data not required for registering) and your IP comes from the VPN then your Usenet Service Provider only knows your login! Finally the generalisation of anonymous payment methods and VPN NO LOGS like NordVPN lets you hide the last link between Usenet Service Provider and you.
A VPN has two main functions:
Assures the connection security thanks to its protocol encryption. The encryption can be very high: RSA 4096 bit for key exchange
Modifies your IP since you connect from a server that acts as an interface between where you connect from and where you want to connect.
This second aspect of the VPN is essential for you. A VPN like NordVPN is NO LOGS, since it does not store IPs that connect to its network. So by respecting these precautionary steps – NordVPN + anonymous payment + temporary email address – you can get a very high level of anonymity.
- Be aware that the modification of your IP does not change or hide the login that corresponds to your user account. To explain: when you use a VPN to download or post the Usenet Service Provider does not know your personal IP (that of your ISP) but by the login it knows that this particular user is downloading or posting. The VPN can hide your IP from the Usenet Service Provider but you as a user will appear in its statistics. The Usenet Service Provider is in charge of your account and can close it down, for example, even if it doesn't know your true identity. With your login, it is in control of your account.
- The only disadvantage of using a VPN is that its encryption is on top of the SSL from your Usenet Service Provider and can then lead to a loss in connection speed. This is why you need a good quality VPN that has lots of servers to meet your needs. NordVPN is considered the fastest VPN on the market.
- Watch out! Don't use the VPN included in your Usenet package to improve your anonymity because either the Usenet Service Provider itself is managing the VPN, or the link between the two accounts would be too easy to trace. The VPN in your Usenet package is recommended for lots of things (Online Privacy - Unblock Websites like Facebook - Secure your internet connection - Watch live sporting events - Torrents, P2P and filesharing) but not for anonymising the Usenet connection itself
Best anonymous Usenet access
|Usenet Service Providers||Key features of anonymity|
Usenet.farm is headquartered in the Netherlands, one of the best jurisdictions for privacy.
Usenet.Farm’s plans include 256bit SSL encryption with their USENET service
Usenet.Farm accepts two anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Paysafecard
UsenetFarm does not monitor or record your activities online. NO LOGS
Usenet.Farm is a Tier 1 provider, meaning that they run their own servers and manage directly LOGS. After 1month they anonymise the data (removing your IP) and grouping it in their statistics.
You can upload anonymously: Block Usenet + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
Usenet.Farm is part of the new generation of Usenet Service Providers that meet expectations of Usenet users: ease of use and anonymity above all: Usenet.Farm advises buying their usenet packages with Bitcoin and do not ask for any personal data.
Finally Usenet.Farm is very clear on its technical LOGS and the LOGS of your activities: (Technical LOGS time of session - IP connected - GB downloaded are anonymised at the end of 30 days and added to the general statistics along with other users)
Usenetbucket is based in The Netherlands where security and online privacy are very respected
UsenetBucket helps ensure your privacy with free 256-bit SSL encryption.
Usenetbucket accepts two anonymous payments: crypto coins (Bitcoin - Bitcoin Cash) and Paysafecard
UsenetBucket does not monitor or record your activities online. NO LOGS
Usenetbucket is one of the most anonymous Usenet Service Providers. Possible to pay in Bitcoin and to use a temporary email address. Downloads are not monitored and Usenetbucket declares itself NO LOGS!
UsenetExpress is based in the USA, a country that allows No Logs.
UsenetExpress helps ensure your privacy with free 256-bit SSL encryption.
UsenetExpresst supports bitcoin payments.
UsenetExpress does not and can not log what you download.
You can upload anonymously: UsenetExpress Block + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
XSNews is a Netherlands-based provider with a no-log policy: "We do not monitor or keep a record of your usenet access"
XSNews provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
XSNews accepts two anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Paysafecard
XSNews does not monitor or log downloads. NO LOGS
You can upload anonymously: Block accounts + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
EasyUsenet is a Netherlands-based provider with a no-log policy: "We do not monitor or keep a record of your usenet access"
Easynews provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
Easynews accepts two anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Paysafecard
Easynews does not monitor or log downloads. NO LOGS
You can upload anonymously: Block Products + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
Usenetnow is based in the USA, a country that allows No Logs.
Usenetnow provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
Usenetnow accepts two anonymous payments: crypto coins (22+ crypto currencies) and the excellent “Money Order” in cash, US $.
UsenetNow doesn't monitor or record your activities online. NO LOGS
Blocknews.net is based in the USA, a country that allows No Logs.
Blocknews.net provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
Blocknews accepts two anonymous payments: crypto coins (22+ crypto currencies) and the excellent “Money Order” in cash, US $.
Blocknews doesn't monitor or record your activities online. NO LOGS
You can upload anonymously: Block accounts + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
We recommend Blocknews for posting. Block accounts can be bought in Bitcoin. Ideal for anonymous posting, especially as Blocknews encourages its users to post: “Free Uploads! Want to give back to the Usenet Community? Go for it!"
FrugalUsenet is based in the USA, a country that allows No Logs.
FrugalUsenet provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
FrugalUsenet accepts two anonymous payments: Crypto Currencies and Cash / Money Order
FrugalUsenet doesn't monitor or record your activities online. NO LOGS
Newsdemon is based in the USA, a country that allows No Logs.
NewsDemon provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
Newsdemon supports bitcoin payments.
NewsDemon does not log their customers usage.
You can upload anonymously: Block Plans + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
Newsdemon has understood Usenet users’ desires for anonymity and confidentiality. This is why Newsdemon accepts Bitcoin, practises NO LOGS and even promises to make it possible to delete all your personal data during your subscription: "NewsDemon members are allowed to delete all account information after signing up– while your account remains active until the end of your paid term."
theCubeNet is an American Usenet company with a no-log policy
theCubeNet provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
theCubeNet supports many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, LiteCoin, Ether, Dashcoin, Monero, Zcash
theCubeNet does not monitor or log downloads. NO LOGS
You can upload anonymously: Block Usenet Plans + BITCOIN + X-TRACE header and NNTP-posting-host header + NordVPN
|5EuroUsenet is a Dutch Usenet company with a no-log policy
5EuroUsenet provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
5EuroUsenet supports bitcoin payments.
5EuroUsenet does not monitor or log downloads. NO LOGS
PureUsenet is a Holland based usenet provider.
PureUsenet allows members to connect via SSL to provide an extra layer of encryption.
PureUsenet accepts two anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Paysafecard
PureUsenet is a Dutch Usenet Service provider that offers all the elements of good anonymity
XLNed is a Holland based usenet provider.
XLNed allows members to connect via SSL to provide an extra layer of encryption.
XLNed accepts two anonymous payments: Bitcoin and Paysafecard
XLNed offers a technical option for anonymous posting, XLNed users separate servers for downloading and uploading. So you can post and download simultaneously: "This way you can read messages while you're posting messages for others, without slowing down the reading of messages and dividing your connections to the server between posting and reading!"
UsenetLink provides 256-Bit SSL Encrypted Connections.
UsenetLink protects downloads with 256-bit SSL encryption.
UsenetLink supports many cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin or Monero
Usenet is undeniably one of the most secure networks with the most prevalent anonymity. Usenet greatly differs from monitored networks moderated by users or limited by obscure quotas. The only weak point could be the transfers but since the introduction of SSL they are impossible to intercept. There is a much greater degree of anonymity with Usenet rather than with the internet.