Perhaps the opposite of an information security question:

  1. Consider a hypothetical where my associate and I have been accused of being the same person abusing multiple accounts on an online forum.
  2. Administrators have the power to look up the IP addresses of users.
  3. My associate and I are on different continents.

With the internet access options available to the average individual in CONUS and SE Asia (mobile, coffee bar, public library, etc.), and without revealing any personal information other than our IPs, how can my friend and I simultaneously access the internet to prove to someone with a modicum of investigative power that we are, within a high degree of certainty, not using proxies/VPNs/etc., and are separate people at separate locations?

Put another way: there are many methods for disguising your true location when accessing the internet. How can I access the internet in a way that greatly narrows down the number of places I could be, preferably to one?

2 Answers 2


You can't.

Internet access alone cannot prove physical location of the person. For instance, this person may use remote access tools like TeamViewer or LogMeIn to access devices at different locations.

Even if administrators could check that the IP is neither VPN provider nor a Tor exit node, there is no way for administrators to check that remote access tools are not used. IP and any other information like time zone in browser may be typical to particular location. But this does not say anything about the physical location of the person that uses this device.

  • Two laptops on two separate airlines would suggest the physical presence of two people, unless we're assuming those laptops checked themselves in and waited until 10,000 feet to hop up on the tray table. I don't know if that activity would be identifiable to an airline, but I am asking for a little imagination.
    – clyf
    Commented Mar 12 at 6:01
  • 5
    Or that you have malware running on two travellers laptops. The answer's still no.
    – vidarlo
    Commented Mar 12 at 7:55
  • @clyf how does that scenario apply? How do the admins of the forum prove that that scenario is true? And that isn't relevant to what you've asked about accessing the internet to prove physical location. It's starting to look like you don't have a clear problem statement and you are looking for a solution that "looks right" for some other criteria other than what you've expressed. Are you trying to write a story?
    – schroeder
    Commented Mar 12 at 8:01
  • 1
    "I'm not trying to prove anything other than there is more than one person involved in process" - This doesn't prove that there is more than one person involved. You can put 10 laptops in 10 different cities or countries and access them from a single place. These 10 laptops don't prove that there is more than one person. Or you can develop some malware that allows you to access Internet via laptops of other people.
    – mentallurg
    Commented Mar 12 at 22:13
  • 1
    We can't devise a solution that would pass a believability test for an arbitrary person. We can't only provide a technical analysis. Anyone with any knowledge of networking will not be able to comfortable believing that any IP (for, that's what you've said they only have to go on) must mean that that user account is in that location. Period. And since this isn't for a story, then we can't delve into improbable scenarios, like IPs anchored to very specific high-security locales.
    – schroeder
    Commented Mar 13 at 16:15

If I understand correctly you want to fool an investigating person into thinking you are not using a kind of tunneling (proxy/vpn) without actually getting tracked.

Unless it is law enforcement which will knock on your door to verify if you live at the location indicated by your IP-address the average person won't be able to verify with 100% certainty that you are not using a proxy/vpn.

But depending on your situation you could try to leave forged breadcrumbs of evidence about where you are located. For example: Images often contain metadata like the coordinates of the location where they were captured. McAfee got tracked by this. Use something like ExifTool to edit the metadata to your location of choice and upload it on the forum or whatever site you're using.

If someone chooses to investigate that image and the website in question doesn't trim the metadata by default, he will see your modified location and suspect you have taken the image from there.

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