stopped saving logs for more than 14 days in order to frustrate copyright trolls is a great ISP. Not only are they technically proficient, but they also spend their own money fighting stupid subpoenas on their customers' behalf. They won't seal a police request unless they get a court order (many big ISPs will refuse to tell their customers about police snooping if the cops ask them not to, even without a judge's involvement). They noticed that neither their sysadmins nor the cops ever needed logfiles going back more than 14 days, and that only scummy copyright trolls benefitted from longer log retention, so they cut their logging to two weeks. Forbes's Andy Greenberg interviews CEO Dane Jasper:

DJ: So, what we saw was a shift towards customers being made part of a business model that involved–I don’t know if extortion is the right word–but embarassment for gain.

An individual would download a movie, using bittorrent, and infringe copyright. And that might be our customer, like Bob Smith who owns a account, or it might be their spouse, or it might be their child. Or it might be one of his three roommates in a loft in San Francisco, who Bob is not responsible for, and who rent out their loft on AirBnB and have couch surfers and buddies from college and so on and open Wifi.

When lawyers asked us for these users’ information, some of our customers I spoke with said “Oh yeah, crap, they caught me,” and were willing to admit they engaged in piracy and pay a settlement. But in other cases, it turned out the roommate did it, or no one would admit to doing it. But they would pay the settlement anyway. Because no one wants to be named in the public record in a case from So-And-So Productions vs. 1,600 names including Bob Smith for downloading a film called “Don’t Tell My Wife I B—F—— The Babysitter.”

AG: Is that a real title?

DJ: Yes. I’ve read about cases where a lawyer was doing this for the movie “The Expendables,” and 5% of people settled. So then he switched to representing someone with an embarassing porn title, and like 30% of people paid.

It seemed like half the time, the customer wasn’t the one right one, but they rolled over because it would be very embarassing. And I think that’s an abuse of process. I was unwilling to become part of that business model. In many cases the lawyers never pursued the case, and it was all bluster. But under that threat, you pay.

CEO Of Internet Provider We Delete User Logs After Two Weeks. Your Internet Provider Should, Too. (via JWZ)


  1. Let me just chime in and second what  a great ISP is.
    I have had them as an ISP for years when I called them up to thank them for the work the do to protect privacy.  I was paying a bit more for them as my DSL provider than AT&T/yahoo intro deals but it was worth it.

    The guy I talked to then told me that they now had a service called Fusion that was a combo phone system and DSL. I could replace my AT&T land  line with them, they were just a like a phone company. I was all, “What?” and they were all, “Yes, we are.”
    and then I was all, “Really?” tell me more.

     The monthly cost of the land line was LESS than AT&T. I was ready to switch instantly when I found out that it ALSO includes my DSL cost and increased the speed to 10 MBits!  Oh, and the Fusion included long distance in the US!

    I know this sounds like a shill, I don’t work for them, but am a long time customer who is very happy. Greater speed, more services, cheaper costs and they are out to protect their customers from copyright trolls.

    Oh, and when the cable companies start doing the whole, “Our unlimited really has a number.” game but we won’t tell you, consider switching to Sonic.

  2. I LOVE Ive had them as my ISP for about 6 years. When my land line went down for a MONTH (thanks AT&T), they challenged AT&T for me and credited my account for the lost time. I am loyal to them and their awesome service through and through!

    1. Yep. This and the good reviews would be reason enough for me to go with them, but alas, they only service Cali.

  3. Another very happy customer for the last 5+ years.       They are the very model of what I want in a service provider –  Rock-solid reliable, willing to talk technical details, and always very friendly and helpful.   If you are within their service area,  switch. 

  4. I signed up with after…, I think it was?… died back in the late 1990s.  ( was bought by some bigger entity, and went to hell.)  At the time, I was looking for dialup and shell access.  Later, I went with DSL.  I lived in the SF Bay Area at the time.  In 2001, I left the SF Bay Area for TN, and now I live in Canada… but I still use for a lot of things.  No, not for home connectivity, but that’s where I’ve got some hosting, it’s where I have  a leased server (I’m sad they don’t do that any more), it’s where I register my domains….and, oh, yeah, you can still get Unix shell access!  They’re rock solid, solid enough that I wanted to stay with them even when I wasn’t local.  And, they’re good too — as in “the good guys”.

    1. So far been having luck with Ben Lomand for DSL. Relatively inexpensive, willing to talk technical details, and no bandwidth capping or port blocking.

      Gotta check with them see how long they hold records. Then come up with a smart sounding argument if they do hold for more than two weeks.

  5. 14 days?  Why so much?  Just log the important stuff and dump everything else from the get-go.  Truly important stuff will have to be acted on within 24 hours anyways.  If the system is heavily used, all you’ll practicably need is a few days, and even then, you don’t need to log all transactions.

    1.  What!?  But what if there was a ticking time bomb, and you had to torture that guy from 24, or maybe it was Lost, and it took up to, but not more than, 14 days to get the warrant for warrantless wiretapping…

    2. Just log the important stuff?  Just?  Just solve every problem, then you won’t have problems, right?  If you had the time and resources to cherry pick important data from massive, massive sets, you would certainly have no need to create logs, but since no such tool exists, ISPs (and everyone else who creates a log for any purpose) create logs.  

      1. It’s true!  But some of us sysadmins with no downtime have a few characteristics in common, 1. pick good systems and keep them updated, 2. practice redundancy religiously and 3. don’t spend our days poring over logs… we 1. pick good systems and keep them updated and 2. practice redundancy religiously and 3. don’t worry about logs piling up, just dump em after a couple days and 1. pick good systems and keep them updated and 2. practice red… oh fuck.  System just went down.

  6. Add me to the happy  list of Sonic customers. Sadly, in our neck of the woods their broadband services are not yet available so finally we switched to AT&T but keep our email accounts at Sonic.
    The Sonic techs are super heroes. I’m proud of their forward thinking and protection of their customers. The day they get something faster than dial up out here it will be adios AT&T hello, Sonic.

  7. I love and this article makes me love them even more. I can’t tell you how happy I was when Sonic introduced voice service with call forwarding. After 30+ years, closing my AT&T account felt sooooooo good!

  8. Five years ago one Cory Doctorow asked for recommendations of an LA-area ISP.

    My vote was for Sonic, and I’ve a sneaking suspicion I wasn’t the only one.  Local ISPs have come and gone (ex user here), but Sonic seems to have some decent staying power.  Here’s hoping that they’ll stick around a while longer.

  9. No mention was made of the Sonic VPN service that’s included with Sonic Fusion nor how the privacy achieved through using that compares to other VPN services, especially those based outside the US.

  10. The ’embarassment for gain’ scam mentioned here is largely the same one that was suggested in te film ‘Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’.

    Who’d have thought someone would actually turn it into a ‘legitimate’ business model…!?

  11. If I was Bob Smith I’d be pissed about them releasing all those details like that. 

  12. I moved to about a year ago. Had an intermittent DSL outage problem with AT&T that couldn’t get fixed.

    Wish I had known about years ago. When talking to their tech/sales reps, They told me their switches were colo’ed at AT&T facilities, so switching me over was literally moving a cable from one box to another – and simple reconfig of my home router. No home visit required. DSL connectivity problems disappeared immediately.

    They are doing some interesting fiber to the home in the Santa Rosa area, wish it could come to the rest of the Bay Area.

  13. It felt soooo good to turn away the AT&T sales person last week with their, “Hi we replaced your copper wires, and wanted to talk to you about…”
    “We don’t use AT&T.”
    “Not for DSL?”
    “But your phone..”
    “Nope, do not use AT&T *for anything*”

  14. I downloaded that movie they’re talking about, I liked it more than the “Don’t Tell My Wife I B_F__ Her Best Friend” series.

  15. If I lived in an area covered by, I wouldn’t think twice about switching, even if it is more expensive. Dignity should be rewarded. 

    Thank you, Dane Jasper!

    1.  I trust you sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” three times while washing your hands.

        1.  But, of course. And for an extra bonus you can stay after school and erase the blackboards!

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