The Internet protocol IPv4 has 2 to the power of 32 addresses. That’s a whopping 4,294,967,296 addresses. The IP address is comparable to a house number that is assigned to each Internet user by his provider. Based on this number, the time and date, all devices connected to the Internet can be clearly identified. Whether and to what extent you can trace an IP address is explained in this guide.
Determine the IP address
There are good reasons to track the IP address of strangers on the Internet: When someone utters insults online or spreads business-damaging allegations, they rarely do so under their clear name. The IP address is often the only clue to identify the originator. In general, IP addresses can be traced.
Before you can locate an IP address, you must first have it.
If you have received an insult by mail, you will find the IP of the sender in the mail header. To get the data, you need to open the source code of the message in question (Ctrl + U command on Windows). From the header you can read information about the recipient, sender as well as the IP address of the sender. Search for “permitted sender” to find the IP address.
In the case of disparagement on video platforms, social media or forums, for example, it becomes more difficult to get to the address. In that case, there is still the possibility of taking legal action. If there is reasonable suspicion of a criminal offense, such as stalking, a government agency, for example the police or public prosecutor’s office, can use the IP address to locate the perpetrator with the help of the provider. A court order is required for the release of the data.
Surf safely now
Our DN8 PrivacyCube
Locate IP address: To which location does an IP belong?
With an IP address you are already one step further. You can roughly locate the site with an Internet service.
Locate an IP with “Geolocation
So-called IP databases provide a location for each IP. Depending on the database you get different information: Country, region or state, city, latitude, longitude, postal code, time zone and provider. Street names or even house numbers are excluded.
IP localization problems – legal and technical
If the Internet user conceals his identity with a Tor network, cloud provider or VPN router, correct location is impossible. Anonymization services such as VPN providers allow users to change their IP address at will. This makes tracking and identification impossible. Especially if no connection data is stored, the legal route is also not feasible.
Providers are not allowed to hand over contact data of their customers without further ado. Investigating authorities only obtain information about the connection owner with a court order.
If someone commits a crime while surfing on a public WLAN or uses the company’s own Internet access for this purpose, it is difficult to establish a reliable connection between the person and the act.
By law, Internet providers are only required to store location data for 4 weeks and communication and connection data for up to ten weeks as a precaution. So-called data retention, which is supposed to lead to greater security, has not yet become legally binding. Thus, if an alleged crime occurred more than 10 weeks ago, localization is futile.
IP addresses from the non-European country are problematic. Other countries are not obliged to hand over data to German authorities.
As you can see, public IP addresses do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about personal data. Only law enforcement agencies have can ask the specific information from providers, but even that is not always possible.