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: