Did You Know Your IP Address is Leaking like a Sieve?
The IP address that’s assigned by your internet service provider to your account is broadcast by your web browser and other apps you might be using. This happens whether you’re using a laptop or desktop PC, a smartphone, or a tablet. Even when you use an email application, the IP address is often shared in your emails too.
What you may not realize is that the IP address is “a unique identifier” used by advertisers to personalize your ads based on your web browsing activity. It also ties all your web usage back to your account, so nothing is ever private, even if you would prefer it to be.
The Reality of Privacy Today
While you might think it’s your background, dress sense, mannerisms, and accent that says everything about you, online it is all about the data being shared. Some of that is happening when you upload your latest selfie to Instagram or Facebook, but other information is collected without you realizing it. And sometimes it’s sold onto a third-party.
Even when there’s a clear privacy statement from a website, who has time to read that or understand the legal blurb about how they’ll use your data? We’re not lawyers… Also, there’s just too much to get done in a day to focus on that.
What Does an IP Address Say About You?
An IP address that’s assigned when you connect to the internet says a lot about you. More than you’d ever imagine.
For instance, it tells the ISP (and anyone who requests the information) about your country, state, city, and eventually can lead them right to your door. Also, websites collect your IP address and other browser-based information when you visit. This helps them to identify returning visitors, but it can also enable them to build up a profile about you.
Sometimes, tools are used that can track your web usage and match it to your last visit to their site. The Facebook pixel is one example of this, but there are many others.
If you’re especially concerned, then it’s possible to use proxy providers that can protect your web usage by making it anonymous to avoid being tracked. They work well and are worth trying out. Find out more by clicking here.
Email is Not Necessarily Anonymous Either
When sending an email, you probably don’t give it a second thought. Maybe if you don’t have an email address in your name, you think it’s private. But it’s not.
Not only can the content be read as it’s transmitted across the internet, but some email providers still include your IP address inside the email. It won’t display in an email app or web browser, but it’s often there hidden in the code sent within the message.
While it’s possible to use anonymous email accounts, they still can see your IP address when you visit their site to create and send the email. And they may keep access logs too. So, that’s an imperfect solution.
Services May Be Restricted
Some websites completely block access when you live outside of the country or countries that they directly service. This often happens with US-based websites that are accessed from Europe, for instance.
It’s also possible to be prevented access even if you have a paid account. Netflix customers have often experienced difficulties in accessing their service from abroad due to content licensing restrictions, even when the user is a valid subscriber.
The above instances occur because of IP addresses from ISPs that help to identify an individual internet user in an unhelpful manner. Using a service that creates an alternative IP address prevents such constraints.
Is It Time to Be Worried?
Given that big data is everywhere now with companies eager to collect as much of it as possible for marketing and better identifying users’ preferences, the time to act is now.
Once companies have a profile for you and it’s been completed based on your past internet activities, it’s almost too late to opt for privacy. So, delaying a few months or even years before considering using a paid proxy is not the best idea.
However, using privacy enhancement solutions sooner will then prevent companies from linking up their past collected information about you with your current usage. How is this achieved? Because you’ll be using anonymous IP address solutions, not the IP address assigned by your ISP. Doing so prevents companies from connecting your past usage to today’s usage.
It’s Not Complicated to Sort Out
Setting up privacy is not as complicated as you think. Certainly, it used to be quite primitive a decade ago and hard to achieve. But set that idea aside today.
There are plenty of services including proxy providers that enable everyday users to take their privacy back. It’s just a matter of making the effort once you acknowledge your IP address is leaking everywhere you go online and it’s time to do something about that.