Ars picks the UK’s safest Internet provider – Surveillance Studies
In a surveillance society, it’s important to pick an ISP that values your safety and privacy.
This Ars Techinca article is amazing for several reasons. Firstly it echoes the mantra “treat your ISP as the enemy”. This mantra first appeared to my knowledge, when the inventor of OpenVPN was travelling in Russia and China. He knew that he was being tracked by his Russian ISP, so he invented OpenVPN to combat surveillance. OpenVPN treats the ISP as the enemy. Since the Conservative election, we will find May trying to re enact the Snoopers Charter again. Therefore the big UK ISP’s are now the enemy. Ars has gained quotes from them regarding privacy and surveillance. Look at the weasel words being used regarding “black boxes” on the network. Of course BT is on the hook here.
Ars have come up with a solution that I agree with.. use smaller ISP’s, that protect your privacy and use a VPN.
Out of the “big 4” ISP’s, only Virgin Media has confirmed that it DOES NOT have black boxes installed.
Counterpoint: A small UK ISP
Now that we’ve looked at the four largest UK ISPs, let’s consider a small UK ISP as a counterpoint.
Andrews & Arnold
In the UK, due to Openreach’s mandate to provide fair and equal access to all communications providers, there are a large number of smaller, nationwide ISPs. These ISPs provide their own core network but otherwise use Openreach’s telephone lines, cabinets, and exchanges. Because the UK ISP market is so open, there’s a lot of competition—and as you probably know, competition is really good for the consumer. Case in point: Andrews & Arnold.
A&A is what you might call an enthusiast’s ISP. A&A was one of the first ISPs to offer a native (non-tunnelled) IPv6 connection to the Internet, and today it is enabled by default for all broadband customers. A&A also guarantees that it has no black boxes on its network, no adult content filtering, and no court-ordered site blocks.
A&A isn’t the cheapest or the fastest ISP in the UK, but we’ve included it in this list as an example of how hard some ISPs are fighting for the safety and privacy of their customers. It goes beyond the scope of this story, but it’s also worth considering giving a smaller UK ISP your custom if you’re looking for better support and service with a smile; for the most part, smaller ISPs are far more responsive and sympathetic to your cause than the big four.