Usenet Anonymity

Anonymity and Security While Downloading on Usenet

Since 2007, most Usenet service providers do not guarantee 100% anonymity on their network. Instead, they use the terms security, privacy, or privately. Do these terms mean anonymity? The answer to that question is a YES and a NO!

YES! The Possibility of 100% Usenet Anonymity

It is YES because Usenet network guarantees anonymity to an “extent,” and it is NO as we’ll need to clarify the “extent” further.


Internet Privacy SSL or a VPN

Thanks to SSL for removing the fear of privacy when transferring and exchanging files. With the specific structure of newsgroups and SSL (for secure transmission), it is impossible to monitor the identity of a Usenet user.

Anonymity is possible in a newsgroup of text discussion. By using a fake email address and the absence of an IP guarantees anonymity. Unlike several web forums, users don’t need authentication to read through posts when accessing contents.

NNTP-posting-header and logs

When a user post binary files, NNTP-posting-header protects the information of the user. The posting header replaces the user’s upload IP with the newsgroup’s server address. X-TRACE header encrypts all information about the user who uploads the file. Besides, logs are kept to avoid spam.

Usenet providers prevent monitoring activity. That is, no one can monitor anything you view or download on Usenet. Only the time of connection, IP, and the volume of downloaded data are recorded to ensure proper technical support. Usenet, as a carrier service provider, is responsible only for access and not content. Usenet does not have control access on all content you receive via its providers. It looks irrational for Usenet to monitor activities that can force them to filter content – basically impossible.

Usenet requires your login details for identification, which is known by your provider alone. Unlike Torrent, other networks, and the internet at large, your IP is invisible and not saved on the system. As a result, you can confidently connect with different IPs because identification needs just your login.

Anonymous Usenet payment

Some Usenet service providers supposedly offer anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin or Paysafe Card. These payment methods are prevalent in Holland.

The Impossibility of 100% Usenet Anonymity

All Usenet service providers in the United States or Holland will cooperate with legal law (if required) to submit the logs of a user. But according to facts we have gathered, this has never happened. In other conditions, activity logs are never divulged or shared. Why the cooperation then? Usenet service providers in the US and EU have a status of “common carrier,” which confirms their legal agreement. The “common carrier” status suggests specific legal duties:

  • Cooperate with the law in exceptional conditions
  • The Usenet providers in the US have to respect the DMCA as those in the EU follows the NTD gedragscode NL. The significant difference lies in the execution of requests, which is lengthy but less systematic in Europe.

What is DMCA-NTD?
Removing violating content is required by the typical service provider after a given notice. Some service providers need more notifications than others, but the giant providers of Usenet comply with the DMCA-NTD notices.

  • Usenet common carriers must not interfere with the transferred material – no monitoring, no filtering. They’re offering you unfiltered access to Usenet.
  • Common carriers are not required or authorized to investigate.
  • Usenet profit from legal immunity; liability protection which doesn’t hold them accountable for the content transferred on their network. While Usenet service providers offer access only, users are liable for their activities.

Today, Usenet is still functioning because it has a standard carrier status as defended in the courts. Usenet, as a common carrier guarantees longevity and balanced system. Presently in Holland, there’s a debate about if Usenet carriers should filter content or not. The discussion was in favor of the standard carrier status, which guarantees network impartiality.

Use a VPN for Usenet

usenet anonymity Can We Optimize Usenet’s Network Anonymity? A VPN can improve anonymity, helping you to stay anonymous on Usenet. How?

By structure, Usenet is a network that offers relative anonymity. The primary element of a user’s anonymity is the IP address, which is known by your Usenet service provider. Even when there are no logs, your service provider knows the IP connection of your login and account.

So, you need a VPN that modifies ISP IP to protect your connection anonymity. With a VPN, you will block the connection link between you and your Usenet service provider. Thus, you have successfully hidden your payment details and personal data from your provider. Now, they only have your login credentials.

Hence, use a “no logs” VPN like IPvanish for anonymous payment and to keep your data.

A VPN has two significant functions:

  • Guarantees connection security through protocol encryption. It can be extremely high encryption such as RSA 4096 bit for key exchange.
  • It changes your IP address because it acts as a boundary from your point of connection to your connection destination.

The second function of the VPN is crucial for you. All you need is a NO LOGS VPN; IPvanish VPN will do the trick. It will hide your payment and temporary email address to give you the highest level of anonymity.

Two Important Notes about a VPN

1. Understand that changing your IP address does not hide the login details of your account. Using a VPN to post or download will hide your IP address from your service provider, but by login in, the provider will still know that a particular user is posting or downloading.

While a VPN hides your IP and activities from a Usenet provider, you’ll still be visible in its statistic as a user. Be aware that your Usenet service provider always has control over your account. Again, your provider can close your user account even without knowing your real identity. Your login makes it easy for your provider to keep or close your account.

2. Using a VPN has one disadvantage, which is, it encrypts over the SSL from your provider. Therefore, it leads to a loss in connection speed. For this reason, you need a high-quality VPN with many servers to meet your anonymity needs.

IPvanish is considered the best and fastest VPN on the market. Not sure? IPvanish doesn’t offer a free trial at the moment, but you have a 7-day money back guaranteed. Why not give it a trial today!