Often in forums, comment boxes, blogs, etc, you may see that you and others have visited before at a certain date/time. Sometimes you see OTHER users' details: IP Address, country, etc. which may not have been expressly consented to by the user. Certainly it's legal for a site to record your visit in the form of your IP address, date/time, etc. There really shouldn't be a question about that. Who knows the kind of logs that ISPs keep.

Question: Do you consider it to be in bad form; sites that publicly post/expose/make available your IP address (or even country flag) in connection to your login/username?

  • Should be community wiki, imho – Andrioid Jul 10 '09 at 8:47
  • Okie dokie . – chickeninabiscuit Jul 10 '09 at 8:59
  • Why do you feel inclined to post IIP addresses? – John Gardeniers Jul 10 '09 at 10:14

In my opinion IP addresses, email addresses and other personal information a web site owner acquires should remain between the site owner and the person visiting. If any abuse is occurs, this can be revisited.

Personally, I avoid posting on web pages that expose my personal identity to the world (and most importantly, bots).

However, using geolocation libraries to publish countries or even cities from IP addresses is in my opinion OK.

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  • +1. Also, the information, including IP addresses, may be covered by the site or company published privacy policy. In some jurisdictions the information may also be covered by privacy or data protection legislation. Some ISPs that give fixed IP ranges to customer have customer details visible via whois queries. For all these reasons redacting IP addresses and other information that could identify individuals is generally a good idea. But I think you may feel free to do what you like with your own IP address(es). – mas Jul 10 '09 at 9:52

I actually don't see any need to log a client IP address at all. People use proxies, most users are behind dial-up/DSL with dynamic IPs and so on. Therefore, it's quite useless to record and store IP addresses.

Despite Andrioid's optinion, I personally don't like to be "geolocated". If I wanted to tell the world where I'm posting from (or where my proxies are), I'd just add the information to my user profile.


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It is fair game, in my opinion. Providing that the site gives you prior awareness that it will happen.

Quite often IP addresses are displayed as means of accountability for the content that users submit and gives other people a means of reliably identifying multiple items of content from that have been submitted by the same person.

Although not the way that Wikipedia behaves, a lot of sites also only display IP addresses as an identifier for users that haven't registered for real user accounts. By registering, you can prevent this information from being displayed.

Without such a mechanism it makes it easy for people to "troll" - by posting intentionally inflammatory material, without any attribution. Or by deliberately impersonating other users.

Masking the last octet of the address is a compromise. But may not always be suitable for the userbase.

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    OpenID helps, I hate having to register a username for every site I decide to comment on. If it wasn't for OpenID... I never would've registered here :) – Andrioid Jul 10 '09 at 9:26

It may actually be a good idea show geolocation information on some transactional sites, where people are meeting each other to initiate a relationship. In this case, if someone declares to sit in US but the geolocation shows he is in Nigeria this will be a red tape to the other party. Of course, some will be able to circumvent this by using proxies, but at least you will reduce the number of fraud attempts.

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  • Why not do that for the user then? Why should the user go through hoops? – Thomas Jul 10 '09 at 11:23
  • @Thomas: I didn't get what you mean. – Mastermind Jul 10 '09 at 12:00

It's probably illegal in Sweden, since IP address are considered personally identifiable here. That means they fall under PUL.

If you operate in Sweden I'd talk to a lawyer before doing that if I were you.

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  • In the Netherlands, some site set up a honeypot to get IP addresses of regular visitors of another site (some compare the visitors of the latter to those of 4chan.org). Next, this list was made available through some API to block those people from posting on other web sites. The Dutch privacy authority was not amused and told them to stop. – Arjan Jul 11 '09 at 22:23

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