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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:06 PM   #1
StephenCampbell
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How does IP address tracking work exactly?

Let's say I create a new gmail account under a pen name, and create a blog with blogger.com, and I publicize it a lot under that pen name, and let's say it gains a following of several million people, and someone (or more than one) wants to know who's the real person behind it.

If I created the gmail account and blog on my regular computer, will they be able to track it to me somehow? Should I create the blog on a university computer? Should I never log in from my computer? How does this stuff work? How secure is it?

Thanks!
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:10 PM   #2
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First, someone has to get your IP from GMail which isn't going to happen. Then they have to track down what ISP it belongs to. Then they have to get the subscriber information from the ISP - which likely wouldn't happen without a court subpoena. So it's nearly impossible.
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:11 PM   #3
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First, someone has to get your IP from GMail which isn't going to happen. Then they have to track down what ISP it belongs to. Then they have to get the subscriber information from the ISP - which likely wouldn't happen without a court subpoena. So it's nearly impossible.
Great! Thanks!
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:32 PM   #4
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Sadly, if someone's interested enough, they'll likely be able to find out, especially if they hire a dogged enough lawyer or private investigator.

Not all information is highly protected.

Not all information requires a subpoena to get.

Depending on how many toes (or which toes) you might be stepping on with your blog will guide you in how many roadblocks you'll want to or need to put in the way of people finding out your true identity.
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:36 PM   #5
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If you really want to compute off-grid, buy a second-hand laptop and use it only from the local library's free wifi (sit in your car or close to the building). Or just toodle around the neighbourhood 'til you find an unlocked home network and hop on.

Never access the internet from your home, and be prepared to dump said laptop in the nearest large body of water if you ever feel someone's being too inquisitive.

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Old Jul 1, 2011, 06:59 PM   #6
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I'm not stepping on any toes with this. Nobody is going to want to sue me or kill me because of what I write. At most someone would be very curious who is behind the pen name, but do you really think they'd be able to find out? I mean, it's definitely not the kind of thing that would make someone hire a lawyer over.

How would they find out?
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 07:21 PM   #7
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In that case you're probably fine and what yg17 wrote earlier will apply.
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 08:06 PM   #8
StephenCampbell
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But no matter what, the reality is that if someone Really wanted to find me, they could, unless I work from internet connections other than my home connection, right?

Edit: When I look up my ip address on whatismyipaddress.com, and then search for that IP address online, I only get vague information, the carrier name, the (very) general location.. but like, nothing else. I can't find anything about myself or even the neighborhood or specific area I'm in.

I mean, it lists a city a few hours south of me as the location of the IP address....

Last edited by StephenCampbell; Jul 1, 2011 at 08:49 PM.
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 10:31 PM   #9
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If you use What's My IP or some similar site, you'll notice it changes from one day to the next sometimes. ISPs most of the time assign random IPs to their subscribers as they come online... however, they do still of course track who was assigned what at what time. Your garden variety person is not going to have access (unless they're already on the inside or are a Riley Poole-grade hacker), so I'd say you're probably okay. If it's serious enough to have the authorities involved, they can nail you down in a trice.

People in Iran were using Tor to stay below the radar as they let the world know what was going on there a while ago. Try that.
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Old Jul 1, 2011, 10:57 PM   #10
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But no matter what, the reality is that if someone Really wanted to find me, they could, unless I work from internet connections other than my home connection, right?

Edit: When I look up my ip address on whatismyipaddress.com, and then search for that IP address online, I only get vague information, the carrier name, the (very) general location.. but like, nothing else. I can't find anything about myself or even the neighborhood or specific area I'm in.

I mean, it lists a city a few hours south of me as the location of the IP address....
Your ISP can match the IP to an individual user, but like I said, that's not happening without a court order.

So if you're doing something illegal with this blog, yeah, law enforcement could find you. Otherwise you have nothing to worry about because the average person won't be able to track you down.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 12:29 AM   #11
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Your ISP can match the IP to an individual user, but like I said, that's not happening without a court order.

So if you're doing something illegal with this blog, yeah, law enforcement could find you. Otherwise you have nothing to worry about because the average person won't be able to track you down.
Ummmmm......

As I posted before, don't assume that you're always protected by court orders.

I have first-hand knowledge of this that I won't discuss - let me just say I was extremely surprised that someone I know was able to quickly unmask someone that was tangentially interfering with their business. It was quick and not even all that expensive.

And there were no court orders issued.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 03:25 AM   #12
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Okay, but that person was actually messing with their business, right? What I'm doing doesn't target anybody. It's just fiction. If someone did, for whatever reason, have a burning desire to find out who I am, what would they be able to do without a court order?
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 04:48 AM   #13
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Okay, but that person was actually messing with their business, right? What I'm doing doesn't target anybody. It's just fiction. If someone did, for whatever reason, have a burning desire to find out who I am, what would they be able to do without a court order?
Nothing. Stop worrying and write your blog!
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 05:10 AM   #14
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There is always a way to track you in the Internet. If you write under your real name, it will be even easier. A rare name and you can be tracked within minutes. More common name makes it harder but combining the name with the IP address will narrow the search down. If you link your blog to Facebook or Twitter, that will make it even easier as well.

If you have the right skills or enough money, tracking one blogger should be piece of cake.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 12:37 PM   #15
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There is always a way to track you in the Internet. If you write under your real name, it will be even easier. A rare name and you can be tracked within minutes. More common name makes it harder but combining the name with the IP address will narrow the search down. If you link your blog to Facebook or Twitter, that will make it even easier as well.

If you have the right skills or enough money, tracking one blogger should be piece of cake.
I have a gmail address and blog that are under a completely different name than my own, and nothing else. Well, he has a facebook page too, but it's a completely bare-bones profile.

Why would pinning down the IP address to that fictional name make them be able to find me? Or did you mean they'd pin the IP address to my Real name? That's not possible, is it?
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 12:42 PM   #16
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Another thing to do is us a proxy server when ever you blog. It becomes one more thing they have to go threw to track you down as there are many free good public proxy servers all over the world. They trace the IP back to a proxy server and from there they might now be able to find out any more if the logs are not kept very long or if any logs are kept at all.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 12:50 PM   #17
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Another thing to do is us a proxy server when ever you blog. It becomes one more thing they have to go threw to track you down as there are many free good public proxy servers all over the world. They trace the IP back to a proxy server and from there they might now be able to find out any more if the logs are not kept very long or if any logs are kept at all.
I tried that, but it's really hard to find a proxy server that let's you log in somewhere while you're on it.

And even if I could do that from now on, would they still be able to find me due to the IP address through which I created the blog?

Last edited by StephenCampbell; Jul 2, 2011 at 12:55 PM.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 01:11 PM   #18
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What on earth is your blog about that has you so worried about being tracked down?
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 01:16 PM   #19
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Lets say they could get you to read an email and you are not using pure text... Or if they could trick you in to following a link... either via email or a comment on the blog.

Perhaps you need Tor.
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Old Jul 2, 2011, 01:22 PM   #20
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What on earth is your blog about that has you so worried about being tracked down?
Wondering that myself, maybe another Salman Rushdie.
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Old Jul 4, 2011, 03:32 AM   #21
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Oh it was just a kind of twisted fiction story. People don't seem to like it though, so I've given up on it, haha.

New question: Are photos that people upload to imageshack public domain? Or can one get sued/in trouble with the authorities for posting online photos found on imageshack?

For example, here's a random photo. http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/189/cars.jpg/

If I repost this in a blog, can the taker of the photo sue me? And what if the photo was really confidential? What are the legal workings of imageshack?
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Old Jul 4, 2011, 07:33 AM   #22
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I don't think a personal picture of a licensed product is going to cause any great shakes or legal threats, esp if you just give a credit or link in small text.

...all the same, just because you can break the law and not get caught doesn't mean you should break the law. eg, if you do use copyrighted material and knowingly commit plagiarism, it's still wrong whether you get nabbed or not. And if it's big enough to get the owner's ire up, all they have to do is send a request in writing to your host and they'll shut you down pronto.
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Old Jul 4, 2011, 12:26 PM   #23
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....New question: Are photos that people upload to imageshack public domain? ...
no, they don't become public domain, but you should read the TOS for imageshack. People who post photos are giving imageshack permission to "share" those photos but it's permission that can always be revoked by the owner.

Other people can link to those photos though;

Quote:
Third parties may hyperlink to the page that displays your content on the ImageShack Network without modification and with proper attribution to you.
If these are "really confidential", why would the person have posted them on imageshack in the first place?
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Old Jul 4, 2011, 02:24 PM   #24
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no, they don't become public domain, but you should read the TOS for imageshack. People who post photos are giving imageshack permission to "share" those photos but it's permission that can always be revoked by the owner.

Other people can link to those photos though;



If these are "really confidential", why would the person have posted them on imageshack in the first place?
Because people are dumb, haha.

So, I am allowed to imbed any photo from imageshack in a blog, legally?
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Old Jul 4, 2011, 03:30 PM   #25
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Because people are dumb, haha.

So, I am allowed to imbed any photo from imageshack in a blog, legally?
The owner of the photo can have it taken down if they don't like what you're doing with it. Ultimately, your use of the image is up to them.

Imageshack will be unhappy with you if you behave badly and they'll block you if you're causing trouble for them or breaking the rules of their TOS
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