Second-level ISP
The last five years have seen the development of Second-level ISP’s. They are actually a type of anonymous internet access providers which is distinct from other anonymous browsing solutions (proxy list
Proxy list
Generally spoken, a proxy list is a list of open HTTP/HTTPS/SOCKS proxy servers all on one website. Proxies allow users to make indirect network connections to other computer network services. Proxy lists include the IP addresses of computers hosting open proxy servers, meaning that these proxy...

s, Tor, JAP). A Second-level ISP provides secure and anonymous internet access using two main technologies: SSH tunneling and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). The best ones offer both, often for the same price.

Secure internet communications of this type used to be reserved to corporations, especially before year 2000. Second level ISP’s are designed for use by individuals, which have an increasing demand for secure internet access to protect their activity when online, for many reasons, including identity theft
Identity theft
Identity theft is a form of stealing another person's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name...


An Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Internet service provider
An Internet service provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. Access ISPs directly connect customers to the Internet using copper wires, wireless or fiber-optic connections. Hosting ISPs lease server space for smaller businesses and host other people servers...

 is usually understood as a service that provides users with access to the Internet, whether dial-up or broadband. “Second-level” ISP’s are providers that create an encrypted secure connection within a regular connection. All the traffic is then encrypted starting from the user’s computer all the way to the provider’s secure servers and then redirected to its final destination (the website visited).

In most countries, Internet Service Providers retain log files that shows the times your IP address
IP address
An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing...

 was used and where it connected to. Some providers save these log files indefinitely and they may give these files to whoever asks with or without a court order, meaning that every website visited, uploads, downloads and all the traffic of millions of users is no longer private. The results of this can be stalking electronically or physically, identity theft, and other forms of harassment.

Why use a second-level ISP? Who needs it?

Internet Service Providers in most countries now log all incoming and outgoing data, downloads and uploads, emails and files transferred, for an unlimited period of time. As of Dec.14th, 2005 the EU Parliament passed a law calling for the European Union ISP's to retain certain records for at least six months. The following data will be saved by ISP's:
  • Each website ever visited with time and date stamp
  • Each file ever downloaded using FTP or P2P
    Peer-to-peer file sharing
    P2P or Peer-to-peer file sharing allows users to download files such as music, movies, and games using a P2P software client that searches for other connected computers. The "peers" are computer systems connected to each other through internet. Thus, the only requirements for a computer to join...

  • A record of every e-mail
    Electronic mail, commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging digital messages from an author to one or more recipients. Modern email operates across the Internet or other computer networks. Some early email systems required that the author and the recipient both be online at the...

     sent and received, including the e-mail content.
  • The name, time, date, etc of every user who chatted with via an Internet Messaging program, including the logs of the chats.
  • Each web forum posted on or visited
  • Logs of IRC
    Internet Relay Chat
    Internet Relay Chat is a protocol for real-time Internet text messaging or synchronous conferencing. It is mainly designed for group communication in discussion forums, called channels, but also allows one-to-one communication via private message as well as chat and data transfer, including file...


Those laws have been deemed as "anti-privacy
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively...

" by many human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 activists, business people, corporations and individuals because they can be used against citizens in a variety of cases.

Personal Privacy reasons

The following are reasons that have been offered for using a second-level ISP:
  • To bypass any kind of Internet censorship
    thumb|[[Book burning]] following the [[1973 Chilean coup d'état|1973 coup]] that installed the [[Military government of Chile |Pinochet regime]] in Chile...

     in the country of residence,
  • To access anonymously financial institutions,
  • To access online casinos,
  • To appear to be in the country of the online service being use. (Some services such as eBay
    eBay Inc. is an American internet consumer-to-consumer corporation that manages, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide...

     limit access to IP addresses located in the same country.)
  • To maintain the Internet privileges of the country of residence when traveling, especially in countries that restrict access to information for different reasons, like Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

    , China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

    , Middle East
    Middle East
    The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

  • To anonymize internet activities,
  • To prevent the user's internet traffic from being recorded by an ISP,
  • To protect online data while using WiFi
    WIFI is a radio station broadcasting a brokered format. Licensed to Florence, New Jersey, USA, the station is currently operated by Florence Broadcasting Partners, LLC.This station was previously owned by Real Life Broadcasting...

     hotspots in public locations such as hotels, airports, internet cafes, university computers,
  • To anonymize VoIP services, allowing for true and easy anonymous phone calls from and to anywhere in the world,

Business reasons

  • Small companies cannot afford to pay security consultants or to set up a VPN system. For them it is simpler to subscribe to a second-level ISP which will offers an all-in-one secure remote access to the company’s computers.
  • Protect your employees when on travel: sensitive information can be intercepted when in the premices of competitors or in public meetings.
  • Remaining anonymous when operating a website, for a variety of reasons: freedom of speech or business and financial privacy
  • Ideal to run a cyber-corporation / distributed corporation
  • Protect the company from government intrusion/competitors

General background for Second-level ISP use

As the world becomes always more inter-connected, individuals feel less resigned to accept the restrictions imposed on them by their local governments and catch the opportunity to escape these restrictions, at least concerning their online activities.

What is perfectly legal and accepted in one jurisdiction may not be in another. By switching between all possible jurisdictions at the click of a button, second-level ISP’s enable their users to maximize their level of personal and business freedom, generally for no more than a few cents per day.

Commerce Defies Traditional Tax Jurisdictions

Using the internet, a company can, in theory, move its e-commerce business to a “tax haven” country and conduct e-commerce outside the jurisdiction of any country that would otherwise tax the transaction.

Also, because of the speed in which transactions occur and the frequent absence of a traditional paper trail, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to apply traditional notions of tax jurisdiction. This is especially true with intangible property transmitted by computer such as software, digital music or electronic books and services.

When using offshore proxies through an encrypted connection, the online activity is submitted to the laws of the jurisdiction of the proxy usie. This is equivalent to offshoring
Offshoring describes the relocation by a company of a business process from one country to another—typically an operational process, such as manufacturing, or supporting processes, such as accounting. Even state governments employ offshoring...

 at the press of a button.

Case One

A company director travels a lot with his laptop. He needs to be in constant email communication with head office. One day he was at one big conference in the USA where free wireless networking access was provided by the organisers, when one of his colleagues came up to him in the coffee break and told him that he had a copy of Airsnort on his own laptop and that he knew his email password. He then proceeded to show him copies of all his email for that day! This happened even though the wireless network was supposed to be secure!

Case Two

The same director, who usually travels mostly in North America and Europe was scheduled to attend a major conference which was being held in a faraway country. The Government of this country keeps a very watchful eye on their own citizens, as well as on all foreign visitors. Both the telephone company and the country's only Internet Service Provider are run by the President-for-life's brother in law and it is generally known among the local internet community that copies of all emails sent to and received from outside the country end up with the secret police.

Worse still, lists of all the overseas websites which are being read in the country are compiled, and the names and IP addresses of those who are visiting certain sites (such as human rights websites) are highlighted. As the conference proceeded, this company director even found that he couldn't access his daily fix of international news from back home since all access to the CNN news website was being blocked, since it had published stories which critical of the country's Human Rights record

Case Three

Steve, an ordinary Internet user got into an argument with another user on a Usenet news group. Unfortunately, the person he got into the argument with happened to be a system administrator at Steve's ISP. Since this person had administrator privileges on the mail server for the ISP, he was able to read all Steve's email, and found out something about Steve's private life that he subsequently used against him.

Case Four

John worked for a company where he had unrestricted Internet access on his desktop. Unbeknownst to John, however, the company's security system was logging every site that John visited. Since he was looking for another job, he was visiting the Jobserve website most lunchtimes. Most unfortunately for John, his boss knew that he was looking for another job before he found one.

Second-level ISP-related articles

  • SSH Tunnel
  • Virtual private Network (VPN)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.