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Is it possible to use internet without revealing my public IP Address?

I feel I should have the choice to reveal my IP address or not. At the moment, it feels like I don't have a choice.

Your IP address seems to reveal a lot about you, i.e. where you are, which ISP you're using and I feel that no one has a right to know that about me without me choosing to reveal such information. Or don't I have such a right? Or is this not technically possible?

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You will always have to reveal your IP to some party. Fortunately there are services which will mask your IP. These services are known as proxies. There can be a false sense of security as the proxy provider will still be aware of your IP address, but for the outside world you will be connecting from somewhere else.

If the outside world really wants to know your identity they would need to ask your proxy provider. Note that there are tons of other techniques available than IP to profile a person (persistent cookies for instance).

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What's far from clear from your question is what you are trying to achieve: what information you are really trying to protect and from whom you are trying to protect it.

The amount of information which can be determined from an IPV4 address is dwindling due to the starvation of the address space - as a result, there is increasing use of shared addresses and short DHCP leases.

While it still provides a reasonably indicator of the geolocation (with an error rate in the region of +/- 80 miles) I suspect that you are trying to conceal your identity - increasingly those trying to exploit information about your identity/browsing habits are using other methods (referers, cookies, browser fingerprinting) hence using an "anonomizing" privacy service doesn't really help. And if you're planning on fraud on the internet, then these services stand out like a sore thumb.

  • No fraud is intended. Infact, it's the opposite, I am doing nothing wrong, so I shouldn't be monitored. Those who have a history of such activities should be monitored. – oshirowanen Mar 1 '14 at 10:13
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    @oshirowanen if you could avoid being monitored, so could "those who have a history of such activities". – immibis Mar 2 '14 at 10:25
  • @immibis, we could say that about people out and about, no one is monitoring them when out and about, but when they commit an offense, that's when they start getting monitored. I'm assuming soon we will not be able to go shopping without being monitored digitally, if that's not happening already, i.e. gps in phones... – oshirowanen Mar 3 '14 at 14:41
  • So it's OK for people to walk into a bank wearing a full-face crash helmet? – symcbean Mar 3 '14 at 15:56
  • @oshirowanen you might have missed the point. if there's a way for innocent people to avoid monitoring, guilty people can avoid monitoring the same way. – immibis Mar 3 '14 at 23:44
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Not broadcasting an IP is technically not possible: the IP address is what identifies your machine on a network, be it internally (local network) or externally (the internet). If your device would not be assigned an IP it would simply not connect to any network.

An IP can reveal a few things about you to the public such as your regional location (never an exact address) and makes you uniquely identifiable for your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

However, there are ways to mask or change your IP. When connecting to the internet, you will receive an external IP address from your ISP (as opposed to the internal address you have on your home network). If you then use a service (such as a proxy or VPN) to change that IP address and continue browsing you have effectively changed your IP address.

Keep in mind that simply changing your IP via proxy or VPN offers some (limited) form of privacy/security, but depending on what you intend to do when masked it may not suffice (e.g. freedom fighting activities will need additional measures or you will easily be found by your adversaries).

  • I would like to add that in the case of a proxy the proxy itself must know the ip address. 2 of the isp's records/logs are good enough then it is technical possible to the physical endpoint of the cable. Wireless networks are a little less accurate but down to the cell/access point location is possible. – ewanm89 Mar 1 '14 at 1:02
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IP stands for Internet Protocol.
The only way you could hide your IP is through using a proxy you can trust.
You can also try TOR which uses multiple proxies and encrypts your connection but your IP could still be detected.

Maybe you can try Freenet, which is an alternative to internet that does not use IP.

  • As far as I can tell Freenet still use IP for the underlying transport given that they talk about bypassing firewalls in there FAQ. – user1937198 Mar 1 '14 at 13:04
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Check this projects:

You might wrap internet connection of your anonymous station to prevent any leakage of public IP by separating non-anonymous station - your day-to-day home PC, with FaceBook's account, with Gmail, with Windows & Skype from your hidden anonymous station.

E.g. Wrap everything to Tor for anonymous station, read about freedom box.

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You can alter/hide your ip adresse by:

Using a PROXY based solution: tor is a good one

Using a VPN: find a list of VPNs here

Those are good tools but they don't guarantuee full anonymity, try to look for paid ones

  • While the TOR network acts similar to a proxy cascade, it is not a typical proxy server. – Philipp Feb 28 '14 at 16:54
  • you are right, here is Tor definition from wikipedia: Tor (previously an acronym for The Onion Router)is free software for enabling online anonymity and censorship resistance. Tor directs Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer network consisting of more than five thousand relays – aboujanane Mar 3 '14 at 14:22
  • When you agree with me, you should edit your answer accordingly. – Philipp Mar 3 '14 at 14:24
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The issue is the ISP uses IP addresses and connections are peer to peer, so that kind of identification is sort of necessary. On an open network (think a group of people talking), you could implement a non-ip system easily, and there are ways on a peer to peer network as well.

To hide it while using a conventional ISP that uses IP's (all of them as far I have seen), you would have to use a proxy. Services like Tor are a special form of chained proxies, but someone still sees your IP. The most secure way, is to setup a proxy or find a proxy you trust, and run it through there. Still, the proxy's IP is visible, and the proxy knows your IP. It's a good way to get a static IP and anyone who wants to mess with your computer will think it's the proxy. Your IP will be invisible unless someone gets it from the proxy server.

There is at least one alternative to ISP's that exists, too, and this is coming in the future. If you live in a densely populated city, it's pretty easy to setup a mesh wireless network, there just has to be the standard. Considering it has the potential to cure a lot of bottlenecks in the internet speeds and give everyone internet (think homeless people can find guidance if they can get a phone with Wifi access, although content-management is still weak these days and that's the concern people have), then a system that rapidly changes identification number for each connection would work, and you could use user ID's instead of network addresses to send a message to another.

Most networks work basically like this (I'm not an expert on this, so please correct me politely for any mistakes):

Computer #1 says to everyone, "I want 192.168.0.1 to get this message [insert message]." (this is a non-encrypted network)

192.168.0.1 accepts the message, then it checks the values to see if the checksum matches or whatever information would indicate it was transferred properly matches.

If it was transferred properly, it continues, otherwise it says "I didn't get that right, please send it again," and that continues until it verifies it received it properly (this is TCP).

After that, it follows the instructions, which usually entails asking the next network for an IP, such as 167.231.101.4, and either a router/switch that knows that IP or the IP itself continues it until it gets to the final IP on the route. Generally every network has its own set of IP's, so there's an indication of which network the IP is on (generally it's the global internet network, which I think is primarily managed by Level 3 and the ISP's computer connections probably have multiple IP's, one for the internet network, and one for the global network, and all of the ISP's agree on the global IP address -- each one is assigned a number of IP's that they are free to use).

The destination computer reads the message (after confirming it's the correct message) and says, "I got a reply, who has [Computer #1's IP address]," and the computer who knows that IP accepts it, checks it, then continues on until it reaches back to Computer #1.

So without an identification, the computers wouldn't know who to send anything to and no one could properly accept it. It's like sending a message to your friend named "John" rather than sending your message to an "unmentioned friend," the latter would get nowhere.

However, all that's necessary is there is an ID. That ID does not have to correlate for very long. It only needs to last until the request<->response is done. It is then free to change -- something that the traditional ISP's don't provide.

You can create a network where the requesting computer generates a very unique ID (and key, too, for an encrypted network), tells the local router that the router now knows someone with that ID, and the router can do the same and so forth. So you can have a new ID for every different connection. It would be similar to having a different name every time you ask someone a question.

protected by Community Aug 7 '14 at 23:24

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