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The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON

Copyright Law Changes: VPN & Other Experiences

Not sure if this will generate much interest, but I wondered if anyone here has had decent experiences or has solid knowledge of VPN or other technologies to preserve one's privacy.

In the wake of the Copyright Law changes as laid out in the big Marc email, there's a lot to discuss, but the original thread seems to have derailed into some weird areas of detail and arguments over the law.

For the purposes of this thread, I'd like to simply accept three things:

1) TSI will not give your information to a third party unless compelled to by law.
2) If compelled by a court order, TSI will confirm that you were the user of a given IP address at a given time. This could lead to a customer being threatened and/or sued by copyright trolling firms.
3) TSI has no say in this matter. The law is the law.

Please, please, please if you want to dispute these statements, do it on the other thread. For the purposes of this one, let's talk about what steps we can take to ensure copyright trolls never see our IP addresses in the first place.

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
To kick things off: I've done some initial research and two options jumped out as potentially useful: BoxPN and PrivateInternetAcess. Anyone ever use one of these?


creed3020
Premium
join:2006-04-26
Kitchener, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to The Mongoose
In wake of the recent changes I've definitely been thinking that I should as you've already done do a fresh screening of the options available to me to ensure my privacy on the net.

My thoughts are though that if this isn't at the level of my router then the rest of the traffic from other clients in the house don't have the same protection. Personally I need to figure out that bit first.

vikingisson

join:2010-01-22
Mississauga, ON
reply to The Mongoose
VPNs are great tools including but not limited to torrents. I use them for legit reasons. But the trail still leads back to you. The VPN provider unless located in some far off country that won't play ball (the U.S. isn't one of them) gets the initial request then leads back to you and TSI anyway.

By the time you pay for a proper VPN and if you're only using it for torrents then you might as well spend the money on a good streaming service and not worry. On the other hand a cheap VPN is handy in cases where that streaming service offers a different lineup depending on which country you appear in. such as Netflix.

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to The Mongoose
Get a router that has two sides - secure + public.
Use the public settings to throttle throughput to a trickle or whatever you need to to provide plausible deniability, ie. you have an open router....it could have been anyone in the 'hood downloading. You do it as a convenience/courtesy to your neighbours since Rogers/Bell/etc.... is up/down like a toilet seat.

Bugblndr

join:2010-03-02
Burlington, ON
reply to The Mongoose
If the VPN server is located in a country that has more lax copyright laws, I'd think you'd be fine. No sense using a VPN in Canada or the USA though.

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
said by Bugblndr:

If the VPN server is located in a country that has more lax copyright laws, I'd think you'd be fine. No sense using a VPN in Canada or the USA though.

I'm not sure that's entirely right. If a Canada-based VPN keeps no logs whatsoever (and unlike ISPs, I don't think they're required to) they would still in theory be able to protect privacy.

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
reply to vikingisson
said by vikingisson:

VPNs are great tools including but not limited to torrents. I use them for legit reasons. But the trail still leads back to you. The VPN provider unless located in some far off country that won't play ball (the U.S. isn't one of them) gets the initial request then leads back to you and TSI anyway.

By the time you pay for a proper VPN and if you're only using it for torrents then you might as well spend the money on a good streaming service and not worry. On the other hand a cheap VPN is handy in cases where that streaming service offers a different lineup depending on which country you appear in. such as Netflix.

Been thinking the same thing. Going completely legit might be a good option, but with Canadian Netflix being weaker than the US and Hulu completely blocked, a VPN with US options might still make some sense.

DSMdude

join:2012-06-30
Kitchener, ON
reply to The Mongoose
I dont typically do torrents (less than 10 ever) but use SSL encrypted Usenet on a regular basis. Is this good enough? In the past its been suggested it is but with these new laws, Im just posting this as a "CYA".

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
said by DSMdude:

I dont typically do torrents (less than 10 ever) but use SSL encrypted Usenet on a regular basis. Is this good enough? In the past its been suggested it is but with these new laws, Im just posting this as a "CYA".

As far as I know, MPAA, RIAA and friends don't/can't go after individual users from newsgroups. They tend to focus their attention on getting content removed and attacking indexing sites.

cidknee0

join:2009-02-28
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
reply to The Mongoose
I use a VPN to the US to get netflix and Hulu. Not sure how well it would work to torrent. I use either hidemyass.com or unblockus. I know Tunnell Bear works too.

I dont think any of them keep logs of the usage so that should keep ya somewhat safe.

buttaknife

join:2007-06-01
reply to The Mongoose
said by The Mongoose:

To kick things off: I've done some initial research and two options jumped out as potentially useful: BoxPN and PrivateInternetAcess. Anyone ever use one of these?

I went with PIA. Seems like the best value and privacy policies. It's software isn't spectacular but sometimes simplicity is good.

It does support OpenVPN and stuff so you could set it at the router level as well.

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
said by buttaknife:

said by The Mongoose:

To kick things off: I've done some initial research and two options jumped out as potentially useful: BoxPN and PrivateInternetAcess. Anyone ever use one of these?

I went with PIA. Seems like the best value and privacy policies. It's software isn't spectacular but sometimes simplicity is good.

It does support OpenVPN and stuff so you could set it at the router level as well.

Thanks bk. Any experience switching to a US server to get Hulu or Netflix US?

brianl999

join:2003-08-01
Thornhill, ON
reply to The Mongoose
I don't see the issue with using a US-based VPN provider. A Canadian court order or warrant has no jurisdiction in the US. They would have to go the MLAT (Mutual Law Assistance Treaty) route, which, from what I understand, is rarely done as it takes a very long time.

That is with the assumption that said provider doesn't give up the goods when simply asked.

Brian

Sanek

join:2006-08-10
Kanata, ON
reply to The Mongoose
said by The Mongoose:

said by DSMdude:

I dont typically do torrents (less than 10 ever) but use SSL encrypted Usenet on a regular basis. Is this good enough? In the past its been suggested it is but with these new laws, Im just posting this as a "CYA".

As far as I know, MPAA, RIAA and friends don't/can't go after individual users from newsgroups. They tend to focus their attention on getting content removed and attacking indexing sites.

Most newsgroups providers don't keep any download logs (there is so much stuff going on that its simply often not practical). They do keep upload logs though for legal reasons (i.e. child pornography being uploaded, etc.).

You can read through the Privacy Policy for the provider you're interested in to see what their user information policy is.

As for netflix and hula, you can use this service (this is not VPN) to bypass the country check, while in Canada:
»unblock-us.com


Nagilum
Premium
join:2012-08-15
Kitchener, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to The Mongoose
VPN Tunnel is a Sweeden-based VPN provider. They keep zero logs on their Swedish servers and use dynamically assigned outgoing IP addresses. They offer both 128 bit PPTP and OpenVPN with 2048 bit blowfish encryption.

»www.vpntunnel.com

They just redid their website, it's not quite as informative as their old page.
--
"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore, 1993


jmck
formerly 'shaded'

join:2010-10-02
Ottawa, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Start Communicat..
I run a small VPN and other hosting services company. I have some servers in the US and I do make sure that not logs are kept, however I do get DMCA notices at times because of torrents that my users have. I usually get the notices directly from the company working for the studios or get them passed on to me from my provider. The IP block I have is assigned to me with the abuse e-mail address.

I typically get 1 notice every 3-4 months and for the most part it's been on public trackers and I work/inform my users that they should try and stick to private ones.

When I get a notice I respond saying I've disabled the user but really all I do is notify the user to stop the specific torrent and suggest not to use the tracker again.

The notices basically just want a confirmation that it's going to stop and I make sure it does, as long as I stop it and respond to them there is no legal issue (even in the US).

Technically tho, while no logs are kept, there's nothing stopping the FBI or whatever to physically go to the datacenter and gain access to it and setup their own logging. In my case it would be almost impossible since I have encrypted drives, but a man in the middle or VPN interceptor could be setup (this would take a lot of work for small torrenting).


motoracer

join:2003-09-15
united state
said by jmck:

I run a small VPN and other hosting services company. I have some servers in the US and I do make sure that not logs are kept, however I do get DMCA notices at times because of torrents that my users have. I usually get the notices directly from the company working for the studios or get them passed on to me from my provider. The IP block I have is assigned to me with the abuse e-mail address.

I typically get 1 notice every 3-4 months and for the most part it's been on public trackers and I work/inform my users that they should try and stick to private ones.

When I get a notice I respond saying I've disabled the user but really all I do is notify the user to stop the specific torrent and suggest not to use the tracker again.

The notices basically just want a confirmation that it's going to stop and I make sure it does, as long as I stop it and respond to them there is no legal issue (even in the US).

Technically tho, while no logs are kept, there's nothing stopping the FBI or whatever to physically go to the datacenter and gain access to it and setup their own logging. In my case it would be almost impossible since I have encrypted drives, but a man in the middle or VPN interceptor could be setup (this would take a lot of work for small torrenting).

If no logs are kept, how do you know which user downloaded the data in question?

Rastan

join:2007-04-25
Canada
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·voip.ms
reply to The Mongoose
As noted by several others in this forum, most VPN's would have to give up your information if they are presented with a court order to do so. However, some VPN's take your privacy more seriously than others. TorrentFreak asked several VPN's about their privacy policy. Check out this article - »torrentfreak.com/which-vpn-provi···-111007/

vientito1

join:2009-01-09
well just find a proxy/VPN provider who's located in a country which has not signed onto ACTA. You got a world of choices!


jmck
formerly 'shaded'

join:2010-10-02
Ottawa, ON
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL
·Start Communicat..
reply to motoracer

said by motoracer See Profile
If no logs are kept, how do you know which user downloaded the data in question?

I only have a dozen users so i BCC them in an e-mail when I get a notice.

Sanek

join:2006-08-10
Kanata, ON
reply to The Mongoose
Anyone have any experience with purevpn? Mainly concerned about the speeds they can offer. Supposedly, I speed-tested at 50Mbit+ (with speedboost) to one of their Canadian VPN servers today. Don't know if that was a good test though.


cognizantt

join:2009-06-13
Montreal, QC
reply to Rastan
dang, i was just going to post that torrentfreak url.

take careful note of what each vpn provider says - while "public" policy is no logs, often that's just not true.

imho, using a north american vpn source would be a mistake.

DSMdude

join:2012-06-30
Kitchener, ON
reply to Sanek
I suppose I should have posed the question as "do the copyright hounds look into the users of usenet indexing sites". Yes I use newsgroups to which the downloads are encrypted but I get the posts through an indexing site to which Im a member of.

vikingisson

join:2010-01-22
Mississauga, ON
VPN and encrypted protocols only protect transit and/or change your geo location. The end points know where the other end is. The law will ask the endpoint where the other end is. If they know that some IP copied a particular file they follow the trail without seeing the data itself. If the end point(s) give up who the other end is then encryption is irrelevant. So your mileage may vary.

Bugblndr

join:2010-03-02
Burlington, ON
If the endpoint is in a country that doesn't follow copyright law, the law will not ask the endpoint anything at all and if they do, the endpoint will ignore them or tell them to pound sand.

vikingisson

join:2010-01-22
Mississauga, ON
That's right but that little detail needs to be clear before thinking that encryption alone will solve it.

Here's a tame scenario, Netflix knows that a U.S. IP is watching a movie. If my account and whatnot is valid then that's the end of it. They don't know that the IP is really a VPN endpoint with me somewhere else entirely. If they or someone with access decides that nobody is allowed to watch that movie then Netflix gives up the VPN IP, the VPN provider gives up my IP and now they all know.

So pick your end point wisely....

MaynardKrebs
Heave Steve, for the good of the country
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4
reply to jmck
said by jmck:

said by motoracer See Profile
If no logs are kept, how do you know which user downloaded the data in question?

I only have a dozen users so i BCC them in an e-mail when I get a notice.

Is *that* e-mail encrypted?
If not then DPI on your IP can read the mail, it's content, and scarf up the addressee's and put 2+2 together.

technocar2

join:2009-05-29
Brampton, ON
kudos:2
reply to The Mongoose
said by The Mongoose:

To kick things off: I've done some initial research and two options jumped out as potentially useful: BoxPN and PrivateInternetAcess. Anyone ever use one of these?

I use private internet access, and I can tell you on torrents with enough seeds their VPN can easily max out my connection, I did posted screen shots on dslr a while back. They also don't keep logs and I paid with bit coins, so zero paper trails, remember even cash "can" leave a paper trail...lol. They give you a shared IP and the canadian servers are dmca free zones for now and they are P2P friendly VPN; not all VPNs are like that.

Private internet access has servers in north york and toronto and they use Amanah Tech and Yesup Host respectively.

Also you can have 3 simultaneous connections with them, others don't let you do that.

Prices is very low, it cost me about 2.95 bitcoins for 1 yr of service.

The Mongoose

join:2010-01-05
Toronto, ON
reply to vikingisson
said by vikingisson:

That's right but that little detail needs to be clear before thinking that encryption alone will solve it.

Here's a tame scenario, Netflix knows that a U.S. IP is watching a movie. If my account and whatnot is valid then that's the end of it. They don't know that the IP is really a VPN endpoint with me somewhere else entirely. If they or someone with access decides that nobody is allowed to watch that movie then Netflix gives up the VPN IP, the VPN provider gives up my IP and now they all know.

So pick your end point wisely....

And this is why people are so concerned about logging. If the VPN company truly keeps no logs, then after Netflix gives up the VPN IP, the copyright trolls come knocking, but the story changes. The VPN company, faced with a court order, can honestly say they have no idea who was using the offending IP at that time. Trail goes cold.