Tag Archives: newsprovider

Review: Uncensored Usenet provider Altopia

Altopia founder created the company in 1995 after having been compelled to censor Usenet groups while working as a system administrator at college and they have been providing uncensored Usenet access since then.

Usenet reader screenshot

The Good Stuff

Unlike other knee jerk Usenet providers like Giganews, which will happily censor newsgroups at the drop of a hat if they believe those groups to carry child porn, and will fund internet censoring organisations like the IWF.

Altopia has pledged to carry any group you request and is a contributor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union, they carry over 122,000 newsgroups.

At Altopia tou can find groups with names like:

alt.fan.adolf-hitler
alt.binaries.erotica.rape
alt.bin.pictures.child.childpornography
alt.terrorists.build-nukes

Make no mistake, I am not into the business of posting the names of groups that carry nazi, bomb making and child porn propaganda.

People carrying out illegal activities will be smart enough not to post illegal material on a group that announces them, they will more likely to choose a group dealing with anonymous encrypted messages like alt.anonymous.messages

Altopia ackwoledges on their FAQ that they know they carry groups named after illegal activities but anyone who has been on Usenet long enough knows that the name of a newsgroup does not necessarily mean the content is the same.

Altopia Corporation also provides free of charge Secure Socker Layer (SSL) connexion on all accounts, with alternative ports to the standard NNTP SSL 563. Port 443 (usually HTTPS) is available on Altopia and very rarely blocked by ISP.

Secure Socket Layer will stop a third party eaveasdropping on your downloads, which Altopia claims are not logged by them, they will of course still log your uploads, this is necessary to avoid abuse and spammers, all Usenet providers without exception log the uploads.

I have contacted Altopia support in at least six occassions and all six of them they replied to me in under 24 hours, even on weekends, you can be pretty sure that if you have any problem or query it will not take long for them to reply to you.

Altopia has a test account server providing access to the altnet and news hierarchies only:

Server: news.altopia.com
Username: testnntp
Password: altnet1

You can check Altopia retention at https://www.altopia.com/retention/retention.html

The Bad Stuff

You can only pay with credit card, and their binaries retention is really bad, at the time of writing this, multibinaries larger than twenty parts were as low as ten days retention. The account is not set up instantly, it takes a few hours.

Altopia does not do block accounts, very few Usenet providers do, I reccomend BlockNews if you need a block account, I have used BlockNews in the past and like Altopia they do not censor groups and allow SSL connexions on alternative ports.

Conclusion

You can find Usenet providers out there that will have a higher binary retention rate than Altopia but this will be useless if that provider does not carry the group you want. Those providers will also be far more expensive, as at the time of writing this Altopia is one of cheapest Usenet providers.

If you need an uncensored newsprovider with SSL and far higher binary retention than Altopia, I reccomend you use BlockNews which has all that and huge binary retention.

Altopia is a real uncensored Newsgroup provider unlike others that announce themselves as such but then have small letters on their terms and conditions.

I am a former Octanews user and once and I switched Usenet provider to Altopia for unrelated reasons I realised of all the groups that Octanews does not carry and all I was missing.

http://www.altopia.com

If you are intetested in privacy and computer security here goes a list of groups for you to check out:

alt.privacy
alt.privacy.anon-server
alt.anonymous.messages
alt.computer.security
alt.security.scramdisk
alt.security.pgp
comp.security.misc
comp.security.ssh
sci.crypt

Usenet search online:
NewzBot: http://www.newzbot.com/
Binsearch: http://www.binsearch.info/