Recent news that revealed that the government is actively spying on American citizens has come as a shock to some and confirmation of a long-held suspicion to others. PRISM, the spying program in question, involves taking Internet traffic and collecting it in vast data stores that can be accessed by the NSA. USENET providers make their money based on privacy. With the PRISM program being revealed, the concept of companies protecting their user’s privacy may seem nothing short of ridiculous. Do USENET users have anything to fear? It depends upon how they use the service, to a great extent.
SSL encryption is provided by our preferred USENET companies. This encryption prevents anyone from being able to read your data as it is sent across the Internet. Of course, when you’re speaking about government agencies as secretive as the NSA, it’s hard to say anything for sure, but current computing technology is unable to decipher information sent with SSL encryption protecting it. This means that, with SSL, you can use the USENET with confidence. Remember, however, that the SSL from a USENET provider only protects your USENET traffic. You’ll need a VPN to encrypt other Internet traffic.
Overall, given what we know about the CEOs of USENET services, it seems like USENET users are not likely to be affected by PRISM. USENET services are set up to be private—provided they offer the aforementioned SSL encryption—so there’s really no reason to suspect that the owners of these companies are going to roll over for a program like PRISM. The SSL prevents your ISP or anyone else from being able to spy on you.
The co-founder of Golden Frog, which VyprVPN provides VPN services but which also partners with Giganews to provide USENET services, recently posted a blog in which he strongly stated that he does not agree with the PRISM program and that he does not believe that it is worth it to sacrifice privacy for some notion of security. Golden Frog does not participate in PRISM.
Most everyone these days is an Internet user. That means that nearly everyone is affected by PRISM. Where USENET is concerned, be sure you use SSL to connect. This is the best way to protect your privacy and to make sure that you’re not being spied upon. If you want additional security for using other network protocols, you may want to consider getting a VPN with OpenVPN or L2TP encryption. Otherwise, as recent news as revealed, you will be watched, and you’re not being paranoid if you think so. It’s quite simply the truth of our world.