At this point, it’s pretty much a given that your ISP is going to start monitoring your Internet connection for signs of copyright infringement. A new program, called the Copyright Alert System, will be in place by the end of 2012. It will apply to any and all Internet traffic.
Most of what the entertainment industry is concerned with has to do with bit torrent. USENET users, however, need to be wary, as well. Remember that USENET traffic goes over the same Internet connection as does all of your other traffic and, if that traffic is not protected by encryption, it is subject to monitoring.
If you take a look at our top USENET providers, you’ll see that they offer SSL encryption. SSL encryption is the same type of encryption that is utilized to protect credit card transactions and other high-security interactions on the Internet. It prevents anybody from being able to snoop on your traffic and see what you’re downloading, what you’re uploading or what you’re looking at.
The top USENET providers out there offer this service as a way of enhancing their user’s privacy. It’s also useful because some ISPs throttle the amount of bandwidth allotted to USENET, and SSL prevents them from identifying that traffic.
Because it is nearing the end of 2012 and because it is a certainty that ISPs will begin snooping on your Internet traffic, the time to act on this is now. The first thing you need to do is make certain that the USENET provider you use does offer you SSL encryption. If it does not, you may want to consider finding another USENET provider or, if SSL is optional with your current provider and you want to keep them, you should consider adding it.
You may also want to consider getting a VPN service. Several USENET providers offer VPN services as add-ons. A VPN service encrypts all of your Internet traffic, ensuring that none of it can be snooped on and greatly increasing your privacy. If you have SSL on your USENET connection, you are protected when you are using newsgroups, but you don’t enjoy that same protection on any other Internet traffic. To protect all of it, get a VPN. At the very least, make certain that you are using a USENET provider who offers you SSL encryption on your connection.