Do IP Addresses Show History?

A user is trying to understand his IP addresses history

When we surf the web, send emails, or engage in any kind of online activity, we want a piece of mind that our personal information and data is protected. Internet security is hugely important as there are unfortunately a wide variety of individuals and organizations that seek to con and exploit people on a daily basis – Viruses can wreak havoc on our computer systems, and if we are not careful, our personal information can fall into the wrong hands and facilitate identity theft.

Many people actually believe that our IP address is a wealth of information and that as people can search for your IP address, they can also find your name, address and what you had for breakfast. Is this true? Can your IP address reveal personal information or such private data as your web browsing history? This is an area of internet security that has become quite confusing and the truth if often obscured with fantastical myths and scaremongering. So does your IP address show your history? And what information can it reveal?

What an IP address can reveal

In short, not a great deal! An IP address simply denotes your devices approximate physical location in the world – In most cases, little else should be retrievable. If you use an IP lookup tool, the items that are usually displayed are the IP address, the hostname, the ISP (Internet Service Provider), and then geographical identifiers – The geographical identifiers may vary but in most cases your continent, country, state or region, city, and postcode will be displayed – A partial postcode is usually displayed, however, not the actual postcode of your house or street. Other than this information, nothing else should be retrievable!

What an IP address definitely will not reveal

As you can see, your IP address is not the fountain of knowledge that people deem it to be! When using an IP lookup tool, you will not be able to find out someone’s name, their date of birth, or even their address – You can literally find nothing else except the above information.

The only way that additional information can be obtained from an IP address is if the ISP or network administrator allows it. ISP’s and network administrators can alter what information is available when displaying IP addresses – Most ISP’s will set the level of security high, and keep the amount of information available to a bare minimum. This is standard practice and is considered ethical so as to protect the identity and privacy of their users. If someone requires additional information about a certain IP address, all they can do is contact the Internet Service Provider or network administrator and make a direct request – In most cases this will be outright denied unless it is a police investigation or a matter of national security etc.

So there you have it! Our IP addresses are not the gateway to our personal lives, and if you have a respectable ISP provider, your IP address should never reveal anything more than your approximate location in the world.

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