There is enough information contained in your IP Address that law enforcement can trace your IP Address to your home. Since Law enforcement can trace you to your home, it is very possible that other more malicious people can trace your IP Address to your home, as well.
An IP Address is a link between your computer and the Internet. It is a bundle of information that is mostly necessary for web pages to work with your computer. The information contained in your IP Address packet is without a doubt necessary. Without it, websites would not know if your computer was a MAC or a PC.
What’s Actually in an IP Address Packet:
So Lets look a little bit at what is actually contained in your IP Address. First there is an Identification number that is your actual IP Address. It might be displayed in the traditional format: 126.96.36.199, or it may be in decimal format: 1285453256.
This number is important so that your computer can be an individual amid all the other computers that are on the Internet. Without an IP Address, websites would not know which computer asked for this service. It would not know what you ordered or who you are. It also indicates if the IP Address is static or Dynamic. Clearly an IP Address is needed. That bad part here is that an IP Address is traceable. It leads right back to you. Though that process itself is not simple. Another negative aspect of the IP Address is that Hackers and Malware can use it to find your computer. When that happens then your data is at risk of being stolen.
Here is the Geographic Information such as your City, State/Provence, and Country. This information is also important because the worlds Internet laws are comprised of laws from every country. So in order to be able to enforce certain laws, your computers location must be know.
Governments also set the requirements for the Internet Service Providers within their county. This is the criteria of who can access local/national websites, and who cannot access the web. Regardless of their reasons, many countries issue geographic blocks that censure what their people can view on the Internet, and who from the outside world can access local/national websites. There are ways to circumnavigate these blockades by using a VPN.
Your computers IP Address also tells the Internet what kind of connection your computer is using. In the photographs, notice that my Internet connection is U-Verse, and the provider company is AT&T. This information is also needed so that websites know how to send data to your computer. Connection types vary by country. Most of the world uses DSL or Cable, but a few places still use Dial-Up as a means of connecting to the Internet. The protocols for communicating with a vastly different connection types are required if the website is going to function.
Semi Personal Information:
The zipcode for my mail is listed here. This is a problem for all of us because a postal code is one of the pieces of information that is used to verify any credit card transactions. Also displayed for the world to see are the Longitude and Latitude of my location. Not a specific give away to where I live but that information could be used to find me.
The IP Address packet contains enough information that it makes me leery of not hiding it when I am on the Internet. There are elements of the data, contained within the IP Packet that are necessary, but a lot of this information is really nobody’s business but my own. To help increase my own Internet security, I use a VPN to hide my IP Address. In fact, I use www.hidemyass.com. It allows me to surf the Internet anonymously but still allows my computer to share the information that it must share to function on the Internet.