Respect privacy, do not judge by IP Address

2 minute read

Human rights and freedom of speech are one of the corner-stones of Internet technology. Within last few decades a huge progress has been made in technology, enabling people from all over the world to communicate through safe and secure channels. However, unfortunately this technology has not yet been able to address all of the security and personal privacy concerns expected by its users. One of the most unsatisfying results of this issue is the behavior which some companies demonstrate by banning citizens of certain countries from their services. Most of these companies disable many features of their services by using techniques known in the field of computer science as Anti-Features in conjunction with the limitations of today’s technology.

Mechanics of their approach is to use IP address (Internet Protocol Address, an address which makes It possible to transfer a message from one location in a network of connected devices to another location in that network) of customers to decide which services must be disabled.

This is indeed in obvious contradiction with the fundamental philosophy of privacy and protection in design of Internet Protocol. Users must not be judged by their IP addresses by any means. These companies have been practicing such behaviors for a long time trying to inspect their customers identity based on the IP address which they use to connect to the Internet. One might think that it’s the right of a company to use this defect of IP technology to identify those who should not use certain features, but in this logic a fundamental problem which is the fact that users’ identity is inspected using IP addresses, is neglected.

It is important to note that principal idea beneath today’s Internet technology is liberty and everyone living in this society must respect this fundamental philosophy. Unfortunately, we still find many countries attempting to limit liberty of their citizens by different kinds of filtering mechanisms. This is even more disastrous when many well-known IT companies also take the same approach and limit their services for users across the world on the basis of which address a user uses to connect to the network. Companies like Apple and Google not only must avoid such behaviors but also must push others to obey and respect the liberty that technology provides for human kind.</font></p> I would also like to point out another recent development in the field of Internet technology which will hopefully provide more personal privacy. IPv6 which probably is the next successor of IPv4 has many features to better protect users’ privacy.

The Privacy Design choices for IPv6 are well described in the book “Protocol Politics” by Laura DeNardls. It is important to note that however, the problem is not yet eliminated in IPv6 and therefore an action is required to call all members of the Internet society (including companies and governments) to avoid such practices which compromise users’ privacy.



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