Internet Security: Is Hiding Your IP Address Legal?

The internet has changed the way we live, allowing us to shop, communicate, and entertain ourselves with an ease never before imagined. It has also, however, opened us and our computers up to a wide array of security threats. In order to protect their computers and the information stored within, many internet users have begun to use tactics that allow them to surf the internet with less visibility. One method of doing this is to hide your IP address. This has led some to ask the inevitable question: is hiding your IP address legal?Before answering that question, it might be helpful to define the term “IP address.” No doubt you’ve heard these words before, but you may not be clear on how an internet protocol address is related to your ability to surf the web and to your computer’s identity. An internet protocol address is similar to a mailing address in that it acts as a location identifier for your computer’s network. IP stands for internet protocol, and the address is a series of numbers that a remote computer can use to communicate with your computer. This communication is necessary for you to use the internet as it tells the remote computer where to send the information when you, for example, load a web page.Because it provides identifying information about your computer, your IP address can be used in several ways that can be detrimental to your or your ability to use the internet. For example, an internet protocol address can be used by hackers to install Trojans or otherwise hijack your computer. It can also be a way for others to determine where you are located geographically. Someone can use your internet protocol address maliciously to send spam emails or to pretend to be you, in essence stealing your identity. IP addresses can also be logged by companies as you visit their website, resulting in annoying pop-ups and invasions of privacy for data collecting purposes.It is for all of these reasons (among others) that many have decided to hide their IP address when surfing the web. This can be done in a number of ways. Perhaps the most common method is to use a proxy server. This is a server that receives your requests, then sends them to the remote computer, acting as a middle man and disguising your internet protocol address. There are also a number of software packages that will hide your internet protocol address for you.So many have asked the question: is hiding your IP address legal? The answer is a resounding yes, as long as you aren’t doing it to aid you in illegal activities. Your internet protocol address is private, personal information, and you have every right to disguise it from eavesdroppers who potentially may be using it against you. In many cases, websites that warn you about the illegality of hiding your internet protocol address may be attempting to use your IP address for their own purposes. In today’s internet world of threats, you shouldn’t hesitate to take precautionary measures like hiding your IP address.