Re: Shameless plug fore freedom-respecting ISP
> Didnt they pull some because of
> $cientology legal harrassment?
Could be. I don't know the exact details of every issue concerning XS4ALL. I do indeed remember something about scientology claiming that the user had infringed upon their copyrights by quoting (some of) their texts. I don't know what happened exactly in that case. The fact still remains however that they are strong defenders of privacy and personal rights.
Shameless plug fore freedom-respecting ISP
For those who checked out the links to the munitions mirrors might have noticed the links to the XS4ALL mirrors. XS4ALL (http://www.xs4all.nl/) is an ISP in the Netherlands and IMO certainly the very best one here by far. First of all: I'm in no way affiliated with them, aside from the fact that my parents use them for an ISP. (My own connection is currently supplied by the University.)
Please read on while I tell you why I like XS4ALL so very much ... They certainly aren't the cheapest at aprox. $12.50 a month for dialup, but I don't think a single one of their customers minds.
XS4ALL was started by a couple a "hacker-friends" in 1993, making it the first ISP in the Netherlands. From the very start they where devoted to guaranteeing the privacy and rights of their customers. I don't think they have ever pulled one of the pages of their customers because someone told them to(*). A couple of years ago (1997?) when there was a large-scale investigation into child-pornography in the Netherlands they were the only ones to refuse to have their wire tapped, because they believed that the law the criminal investigation team based their 'right to tap' on didn't give them the right to do so. Two years later a judge decided that XS4ALL had been right. Every other ISP had just obeyed because the police told them so, but they didn't. Let me stress however that XS4ALL is no safe-haven for child pornographers. They even assisted in the foundation of the national online organisation where people can report child pornography.
XS4ALL is one of the only ISPs here that doesn't sell the privacy of their customers. They don't monitor their users or sell their addresses to advertisers. No hidden catches such as having to unclick a check box or something like that. During the war in Serbia they kept radio B92 in the air by airing broadcasts over the Internet. They're hosting the site that has broadcasts of the hearings in the Yugoslav War Tribunal in The Hague.
Furthermore they have had telnet (and ssh) access for every dialup account from the very start. (Full access to UNIX systems with fat pipes for normal people from 1993!) They have one the largest set of ftp-mirrors for things like FreeBSD, (afore-mentioned) Munitions, CPAN, Linux distro's, GNU, Xfree, Tucows, Linuxberg, a complete Debian mirror (!), allmactintosh, Beos, etc.
They're one of the few ISP's that haven't yet felt the need to limit the traffic of their DSL-users. They don't close ports when things like virusses such as Back Orrifice of Code Red strike. They never send unsollicited e-mails to their users and have so many technically well-managed services such as a very good (huge!) newsfeed, irc, ftp, bsmtp and dozens of game-servers. Though not officially, they support OS'es other than Windows or Mac: they have the HOWTO's and packages for using DSL with Linux on their homepage! You can meet and talk to many of their technicians on irc or in news://xs4all.*. You just sense the high level of compentence in every one of their services. It reminds me quite often of Columbia Internet (UF).
You can imagine the huge worries of many people when in 1998 our national telecom-provider (KPN) bought XS4ALL. People were very worried that, even though it was stressed that they would remain independent, freedom and privacy would decline and XS4ALL would be forced to stop many of their 'extra' activities because of 'cost-effectiveness'. I'm glad that such a thing didn't happen so far. I certainly hope they are still there (unchanged), when the University will no longer supply me with Internet.
I'm sorry if you still feel that this is a shameless plug (don't say I didn't warn you in the subject!), but I felt the need to tell you all there's still hope for our freedoms with ISPs like XS4ALL around. I hope the message came across as I might have been rambling away a bit ;-)
* - Some might consider this as bad, as one of their users for example mirrored the anti-abortion pages at their servers when every single ISP in the USA seemed to refuse to host it. It contained a list with doctors that allegedly practiced abortion accompanied with their addresses. Some of the names on the list had suggestingly been 'crossed off'.
Matthijs Sypkens Smit