"Is there anyway to connect to the internet without root privilages?"
If you are using wvdial here is how to allow a user dialout.
Here are the commands to allow user to dial out with wvdial which works on SuSE. You might have to modify the filenames to get it to work on Mandrake. Also your modem may not be on ttyS1.
chown root:dialout /dev/ttyS1
chmod 660 /dev/ttyS1
chown root:dialout /dev/modem
chown root:dialout /etc/wvdial.conf
chmod 660 /etc/wvdial.conf
chown root:dialout /etc/ppp/chap-secrets
chmod 660 /etc/chap-secrets
chown root:dialout /etc/ppp/pap-secrets
chmod 660 /etc/pap-secrets
chown root:dialout /etc/ppp/peers/wvdial
chmod 660 /etc/ppp/peer/wvdial
chmod u+s /usr/sbin/pppd
If you are using kppp it is possible to set up a user as capable of dialing out by proper use of groups but it has been a while since I did that and I don't remember how I did it.