Well that was an interesting decision...
I'd remind borgs that randomly portscanning things/looking for vulnerabilities isn't the best kind of thing to do...
But anyway, going back to the proxy service...
I figure whoever is running it is likely to be someone I've spoken to in the past, and anyway, is certain to read this thread (as this appears to be the only publicity they've received so far).
There's no advantage being anonymous, because you're only anonymous from the people who care about you the most - your users. I just tried googling, whois-ing, for details - it's a pretty solid gap - for now, from me. From anyone with any kind of legal remit to know who you are, there are multiple ways to find out who's who - the easiest is simply to throw your ISP a court order or similar. You're protected from people like me finding out who you are but not from the people you don't want. This is disingenious.
Whilst Mr. Assange, on a personal level, may, at best, be legitimately called, "a bit of a tosspot", towards the end of 2010, strategically, he pulled off a masterpiece.
Wikileaks was a faceless Organisation, he couldn't stay secret for ever and he certainly couldn't stay secret from a really peed off US government. There were other people, but they weren't as involved/committed - and so he started making appearances in public, letting the public see who he was.
When it comes to random bittorent trackers, 'hacker' groups - it's quite clear they're going to get caught at some point. Why? Because once someone of similar or greater intellect is on to you, they're on to you. Just like a hacker only has to succeed once whilst a sysadmin has to succeed millions of times, suddenly it becomes a game of trying to protect your identity... and eventually they'll get you.
What you see as morally or legally correct, is not really the point - if someone's out to get you, they're likely to get you first, and worry about it later (I'd agree not how it should be - that's why I'm here!)
Now obviously, VPN services are perfectly legal in the UK - a 5am smash at the door seems unlikely. But for users, VPN services mean putting a lot of trust in the operator - essentially the operator controls the endpoint and if the endpoint is compromised, so is the contents of any unencrypted traffic and certainly where to/from that traffic is going.
So how can one gain the user's trust? Well let's look at some of the ISP's I'd trust most.
In the UK, this guy
I'd trust this guy. Why? Because he's a machine! He's a clear stance on DEA
and silly filters
We do not have any black boxes designed to filter or monitor traffic and you are welcome to ask RevK on irc if this is still true at any time and take a lack of reply or evasive reply as you wish.
What's more, he publicly run a business with not too shabby accounts
Rsync.net are a non-UK based company who seem quite clued up. They have a similar kind of stance as the previous, except they got there first actually. Anyway, look.
The people behind it? Yeah, really hard to find. Especially when they've had at least 9 books published
, and blog about the EFF
There are others, but I don't feel the need to list every reputable organisation in a list. The point is - if someone goes after the first guy, all his users know him whether they like it or not - if someone goes after the second guy - all his users know him. If someone goes after anonymous £8 VPN guy then anonymous £8 VPN guy has gone, and co-incidentally, no one really knows who Jim Roe who was arrested in Flint, so there's no political pressure and hardly anyone would wan to donate to his defence fund.
In my opinion, strategically, the best thing you can do is do nothing wrong, be quite clear about who you are, be quite clear on your opinions, technical setups. Be as paranoid as possible, all the time, and do nothing wrong. Ideally, also have a good way of warning yourself away from crazies.
Meh, I hope that helps. I doubt it does, but this is why I won't be signing up.
Best of luck!