I use the Internet for personal and business use. In business I participate in USENET discussion groups on technical topics and I sometimes use my real name and company name as part of the signature.
When I use the Internet for a hobby, some of the groups I participate in (some of which argue about politics) I would rather be anonymous to. So I don’t use my real name.
What I didn’t know until recently is that the IP address of the submitter of a USENET post is stored in the message (NNTP) header. So from my business activity, my IP address is associated with my real name. Now when I visit a web site or participate in a newsgroup, someone can get my IP address and search USENET archives looking for the IP address, and trace it back to my real name, company and with the IP address my geographical region and from that my home address and telephone number.
Additionally, you can use tor to hide your ip address when you want to reply.
As you know, posting to usenet is a spam magnet if ever there were one.
If you wanted to stick with Earthlink, you could post to USENET through groups.google.com.
I put most of the blame for this mess back on the spammers, but leave some for ISP’s who use counterproductive techniques to combat it.
I have been with Earthlink/Mindspring for about 6 years. About a year ago they began insisting that I should use smtpauth.earthlink rather than mail.earthlink when I use email. OK, that’s fine for email, but everytime I post to usenet with the smtpauth bit, they insist that I should use my real email address.
It would be pretty stupid for anyone to post to usenet using their real email address. Is that what Earthlink calls security and spam prevention? I’m going to have to leave them, after all this time, because they insist that I bare my ass to the world.