Why We Show Your IP AddressWritten by: Chris Print This Article
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)
If you are like some of our readers, you may have been wondering why we show your IP address in the control bar on the website. Some of our readers feel their privacy is being violated by this. On the contrary, it is intended to assist them in preserving their privacy. Here’s why.
Widespread Monitoring Of Your Computer Usage
Every time you use your computer to access a web site, there are several, likely even dozens, of pieces of software running on computers spread across the Internet that log bits and pieces of information about you. Such information typically includes your IP address as the unifying element to glue it all together. Other bits of information include the web browser your are using, the operating system your computer is running, web sites you visit, comments you post, email addresses you use, and questions you answer in surveys of demographic information that may not seem at first glance to be related to your web browsing at all. They might be software registrations, surveys for “free coupons”, “free email newsletters”, or something else. Your IP address can be used to tie it all together, to track your “Internet identity” and the usage of the Internet associated with it. Such information is being collected about you all the time. Every day, it is bought and sold routinely as a matter of regular business practice by many of the top brand names in the Internet world.
Have you installed any of those popular browser toolbars from Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft? Such software can log similar information about your usage, too. So can Flash, Java, and other apps that are common on many popular websites.
Your Internet Service Provider (Cox, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, etc.) probably logs a substantial amount of this type of information and retains it for multiple years. Some countries actually have laws requiring this. Even if they don’t, the ISP and hosting providers for any websites you visit log and save similar information for years, too. Your web browser also retains such information, too, and it will persist for months or years unless you take steps to erase it. Even if the company, organization, or people running the website you are visiting go to great effort to discard that information, virtually nobody else is going to do likewise. Like it or not, you are creating a great big trail that others can use to find and track you, be it for reasonable or very hostile purposes. Your IP address is often the single most important piece of information typically used to glue together the bits and pieces of your Internet trail into a cohesive whole that somebody can portray as representing you, rightly or wrongly.
Why We Show Your IP Address
We show you your IP address for two primary reasons:
1) Showing you your IP address reminds you that it is being tracked by many entities.
2) Showing you your IP address also lets you know if anonymization software you are using is working at all. We can’t help you prevent yourself from announcing your name and most personally identifying information to the evil ones running amok in world, but by showing you the IP address is being seen by web servers your browser is contacting, we can let you better know if you’re painting a target marker on yourself or if you really are reasonably anonymous.
Preserving your privacy while maintaining your rights to free speech should be major concerns to if you want to expose a crooked cop, judge, CPS social worker, or other government official without inviting reprisals against you and your family.
They should also be concerns even if you simply if you want to learn about the growing government abuse of the law and sometimes express your general displeasure with the abuse you have experienced from family law courts and other corrupt and abusive government organizations.
Consider that you are leaving evidence spread across the Internet that you view “anti-government” websites and have written “malicious” (yet probably quite accurate) comments about government officials, you can be assured that somebody — your evil ex for one, the judge in her or his pocket for another — would be most happy to “prove” that you are a dangerous person whose civil rights should be terminated and whose children should never again see you. If you want to avoid such outcomes, you would be well-advised to take some steps to ensure that your IP address is anonymous and that you don’t otherwise reveal your identity when you comment about the corrupt officials persecuting your family.
That’s the essence of why we show your IP address. There’s nothing nefarious or privacy invading about it. On the contrary, if we didn’t show it to you, we think we’d be doing you a disservice given the potentially sensitive nature of the kinds of comments about CPS, judges, etc. that some of our readers are writing.
US Government Wants Even More Monitoring and Control Over Your Internet Usage
It’s not only business like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft and bad people in your life that want harvest data on your Internet usage. The US government under leaders like George W. Bush and Barack Obama wants to monitor and control everything you do online. Freedom of speech and association are all under threat by Obama’s government, even more so than by Bush’s government. For more information about the sorts of tyrannical legislation making their way through Congress, read a few of the following stories:
The government offers up excuses about “protecting America” from terrorism to justify violating the US Constitution and its ever-expanding authoritarian powers and attitudes lifted out of and inspired by the playbooks of model government agencies that only wanted to “defend the Homeland”, agencies like the Gestappo and KGB.
(from Obama the Master Spy — of Us)
“Discovery and invention have made it possible for the Government, with means far more effective than stretching upon the rack, to obtain disclosure in court of what is whispered in the closet. … The progress of science in furnishing the Government with means of espionage (on American citizens) is not likely to stop with wiretapping.”
Was he ever right!
“Ways may some day be developed,” Brandeis continued, “by which the Government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court.” (He didn’t foresee the Patriot Act’s giving the FBI permission to sneak into our homes when we aren’t there and photograph those papers.)
The time did come, as Brandeis prophesied, when the Government “will be enabled to expose to a jury the intimate occurrences of the home” — and any of our communications in almost any form, if this Obama legislation becomes and remains law.
US Government Violates US Constitution Routinely
There is far too much more about this to cover in this little piece on why we show your IP address, but you should realize that the US government makes a daily practice of violating the laws of the land. On the more egregious end of the spectrum, it already orders executions of American citizens without charges, trials, or revealing its evidence and then asserts claims that nobody can challenge this, not even the families of those marked for death, because it would “expose state secrets”.
Maybe some of these people really do deserve death for crimes they have committed, but the US Constitution says that they also deserve due process, including knowing the charges and evidence against them and having a jury trial with a right to defend themselves. It says nothing about the President and his minions having the right to summarily order the execution of people based upon nothing more than secret accusations and “evidence” that is highly classified. For more on that angle, read Obama invokes ‘state secrets’ claim to dismiss suit against targeting of U.S. citizen al-Aulaqi. It’s not just right-wingers who are appalled at this, even the left-leaners are starting to be alarmed.
When stories originally surfaced to the effect that President Obama had authorized the killing of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, my first reaction was to say that the criticism of some civil libertarians was overblown. A warrior fighting on the battlefield against U.S. forces in a conflict has no privilege against being killed because he is a U.S. citizen—that’s a well-settled norm of the laws of war, upheld by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Quirin (1942). Surely the Obama Administration would justify its action under these principles: there must be evidence linking al-Awlaki to an imminent, military threat involving al Qaeda and its associated forces, and evidence putting him in a command and control position. I waited to hear confirmation of that, and perhaps even to get a taste of the evidence.
But studying the Obama Administration’s statements over the last two months and reviewing the Justice Department’s response to a lawsuit filed by civil-liberties organizations acting on behalf of al-Awlaki’s father, I come away with a different impression: we’re looking at another power grab for the imperial president.
Now you may not have yet caught’s Obama’s personal attention, but you may have caught the attention of similarly tyrannical local government officials like abusive family court judges and cops. If Obama won’t blink from signing death warrants for people whose rights he violates, do you think these local Stalinists will blink from ordering you to stay silent about their abuses as they take your property, income, and worst of all your children?
If you are one of those who has been wondering why we display your IP address and are concerned for your privacy, do yourself a favor and go read about some of the free computer tools you can use to actually do something to protect it. Some of our readers are already using tools like the ones mentioned in that article to leave comments on our site. Even though there is nothing we can do to stop the logging of the IP addresses they are using, the addresses that are logged don’t belong to them. They belong to organizations and people they have never met, often in countries outside the United States. These organizations and people include those who believe that freedom of speech is essential to the well-being of humanity and who are willing to take some risks and spend some of their hard-earned incomes to ensure that governments and other villains will not easily silence those who want to speak their minds.
We plan to continue to support such software tools as much as is possible. Also note that when you leave comments on our site, you are free to use any name and email address you want. “Elvis Presley” at “[email protected]” is fine by us. If you want us to be able to reply to you privately via email, obviously you’ll have to provide some working email address. We will not delete or censor anonymous comments that are not spam.
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