Context: In Germany it is extremely common for people to be sent very nasty fines for breaching copyright laws by uploading content online.
Here are my tips on how to avoid getting stung for copyright infringement by some dingbat using your internet connection in Germany ..
(1) Never let others use your internet connection – this solution sucks
(2) Block all ports commonly used for BitTorrent connections at the router level – this solution will probably work, but you can also bypass these restrictions and use otherports. Plus, it’s highly annoying for anyone wanting to use those ports.
(3) Run all of your traffic through a proxy to another country – this solution will work, but will not protect you as well as option #4
(4) Use a VPN – this solution will prevent anyone apart from your VPN provider from seeing that you are even in Germany. Simply choose a country which protects people well against copyright infringement (Netherlands is a good option for this).
For option #4, if you are smart enough and/or have the time, you can find a cheap router and flash the ROM to allow you to connect to a VPN service. If you are lazy, you can simply buy a router which allows you to connect to a VPN in it’s router settings, I bought an Asus RT-N66u for this purpose:
To state the obvious, you should never use a German VPN provider (that just makes finding you easier for the Polizei). I use privateinternetaccess.com which costs US$39.95. They (like many other VPN providers) “do not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network (VPN)”.
Once they’re through the VPN, they can pretty much do what they want without it being your problem. In the worst case scenario, the Polizei could get an international search warrant to nab your personal details from the VPN provider, but they’d need to do it whilst the downloading was occuring since the VPN provider wouldn’t store historical data about your VPN activities. Then I’m guessing they’d probably send a police team over to kick in your door, in which case the illegal user would be there and so would likely get caught instead of you anyway. They’re not going to do that for some schmuck downloading the latest season of House of Cards; U’m guessing that’ll happen for sharing nuclear secrets, running a long term kiddy porn ring etc., but those sorts of crimes will land someone in jail in every other sane country on the planet anyway. Basically, you should be safe from regular dingbats using your internet connection.