IP (Internet Protocol) is a framework that governs activity by enabling 2-way communication on the internet. It does this by assigning unique protocol addresses to every device connected to the web. Hence, your IP is a unique numerical identifier that identifies you on the world-wide-web.
The functions related to IP addresses are to identify and locate your devices online and make sure that they can communicate with the websites or services you would like to access. Your IP address has two parts:
- A network ID
- The host ID of your device
IP addresses allow devices all over the world to communicate with each other and also let internet service providers differentiate your unique hardware from billions of others on the web. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can track your online activities through your IP address and trace them back to your exact position. As a result, your approximate physical location is detectable by any website or person who has access to your IP address.
While your IP allows internet traffic to route to your devices, it does not disclose your location. Someone who has your IP address could learn some information about your browsing and may locate the city you are in, but they cannot locate your home or office address.
However, your ISP will know where you are at any time, and although they use means to protect your privacy, they do keep a log of our connections on the internet. If you are suspected of engaging in illegal activities, in most countries, a law enforcement agency can submit a court order to request your ISP to reveal your whereabouts. In the UK, however, a warrant is not even required. Ever heard of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016? It’s scary stuff.
Most people are unaware that they are being watched while browsing on the internet, or interacting on social media. All your online activity is monitored by your ISP, and some internet providers may even monitor data without consent for their advertising purposes. Government agencies have access to IP addresses and may use recorded information for legal or other purposes.
You can change your IP address to keep your details anonymous and private, and a hidden IP address can prevent your location from being determined or your activity from being traced back to you. Location data collected over time can tell a detailed story about you that ranges from information related to what you do on the internet to what you like and just about anything else in your life. For exact details on how to hide your IP address, visit fastestvpnguide.com/how-to-hide-my-ip-address-when-downloading.
Add to this are tweets, photos, shares, telephone numbers and addresses and your life story can become very detailed. Location information will reveal not only where you live and work, but the churches, bars, clinics, friends and lovers your visit, which political party you belong to and any even protests you have participated in. Bottom line, if you can hide that IP of yours, do it.