IP address location was made in the age when that was necessary for computers to communicate, and not for any malicious purpose. But, the society we are living now, and the one coming shortly is far from being kind to our personal information. This is why it is often better for your connection to be somewhere far away from your actual house.
Additionally, the Internet in the 1st half of the 21st century is neither free nor open. By using your IP address location, Internet Service Providers (ISP) are barring you from loads of content that is readily available in other countries.
In some cases, this censorship is the main issue, and in countries like PR China, you are unable to see most of the World’s Internet. And, in some other countries that call itself the land of the free and the home of the brave you might have access to all of the Netflix and memes your heart desires, but so does the federal agent monitoring your computer.
Thankfully, there are several ways to change your IP address, and thus, your IP location. Premium VPN providers like Le VPN have servers all around the world, making it possible to increase your cybersecurity and have access to all of Japan Netflix’s anime at the same time.
Why do IP Addresses Have Locations?
Before Google Chrome started eating RAM like hot pockets during a depression, accessing the internet was quite different. Now, unless I check out my IP location online, I wouldn’t ever remember what it is. Before, it was an essential part of surfing the web.
In the early days of the web, once modems became a thing, your computer needed a full set of data to access any web place, and any other computer or server. To do this, your computer needed to introduce itself with a complete set of data as well, so that the return packets knew where to go.
Once DNS names became a common sight, IP addresses were relegated to be just a fun bit of information. Regional ads were the first to actually use the data in reverse, giving customers specialized advertisement for malls (‘member?) and companies close to them.
Now, IP addresses exist so that governments and corporations can know exactly where your device is and can use that data for all kinds of reasons, both legitimate and less so.
Advantages of an IP Address Location
To paraphrase a founding father of the US, popularized by his face being on the $100 bill, Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.”
That being said, there are several apparent benefits of having your IP address location known. These usually have most to do with recognition and speed of service. Servers, especially in the USA without Net Neutrality, tend to prefer some IP addresses and some IP locations.
Honestly, this would be most beneficial for a company that has invested heavily in other forms of cybersecurity and already has protocols in place to prevent data leaks. For individuals, who use personal devices, there are few advantages of using a server in your hometown than using one on Guernsey Island off the coast of France, officially a dependency under the Crown of the UK.
Some companies and services will give you additional options if you are using an IP address that they recognize as being safe. For instance, for an IP address 18.104.22.168, Amazon will realize that you are using an IP address that they own, giving you faster access to some of their services.
As this is a minor advantage over the holes in cybersecurity opening yourself like this would make, few people use any of those benefits. Most of those who do, do it by accident.
Helping Create a Surveillance Society
“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred Pennyworth
Although most countries are still far from dystopian surveillance societies, this is not the type of information you should be giving away. Both governments and corporations are known to want a mile every time an inch has been given, and providing them with constant browsing and location data will end with loads of unwanted consequences.
There is already a system of “social credit” established in China, preventing people who don’t act properly from using some public services, like fast trains, airplanes, or theaters.
Imagine cutting someone off on the highway prevented you from buying gas for next month as a penalty, that is the consequence of living in a surveillance society.
Issues with Location Data
In the same way that there are issues with leaving your geolocation services online when you are moving about, there are issues with letting your IP address location information visible for every website you visit.
Primarily, there are issues about both personal and data security, as your geographic location can point out to other data about you. If a hacker knows your IP address, they will know your location. With this info, they can make a VOIP call from your area to your local ISP representative and fool some bored customer service rep to give out your name and home address. It’s all downhill from there.
Additionally, there are issues with personal liberties we are accustomed to. While there are many discussions about what is threatening our democracy, it is more than plausible that ruling structures inside our own governments, as well as multinational corporations, are a much bigger threat than any Russian bot farm, even if you are living in Russia.
Finally, there is a question of censorship and licensing. Even if you live in a country that would be considered politically free, your local ISP will comply with international licensing rules and block any type of content that isn’t licensed for your region. This may be something annoying but benign, like a Netflix database, or something much more severe, like blocking whole websites and YouTube channels.
In the digital era, everything is connected. Even if you are not giving out your mobile IP address geolocation, your home devices will give an even worse type of information, your place of residence.
And it is a misconception that some serious hacking skills are needed to find you this way. You don’t need to hack into the mainframe and disable the algorithms to use an IP location lookup tool online and match it to the twelve numbers you have collected from your website.
This small breach could create a whole set of problems. From identity thieves using the data, they get to steal your identity and drain your bank accounts, or max your credit cards, to serious data collectors that will resell your info to much more sinister parties.
Even with all the governments, corporations, and all types of crime syndicates in the world, a much more pressing issue are the private photos of your child being sold to pedophiles over the unindexed pages of the dark web.
Because most of us carry all of our personal data in our pocket everywhere, we go, personal cybersecurity and actual physical security overlap most of the time. If someone knows the IP geolocation of your smartphone, they know where the body holding that smartphone is.
Any malicious person who has constant access to this information can track your movements and know your schedule. While the hacker alone might not have any benefit to knowing this, they can sell the data collected to a wide range of criminals who will then know when you are not in your home.
This is where a good VPN comes in handy. Not only would your location be masked by using a foreign server to access the internet, but once anyone tries to follow you, they will see a virtually impenetrable wall of cybersecurity on the other side, making them cut their losses and disengage. And, with premium VPN providers like Le VPN, you can choose one out of 100+ locations to be your virtual place of residence.
Depending on where you live, this reduction can either be via a government mandate, or self-imposed.
Doxing is one of the main issues with an online presence in the virtual world. Someone you had a dispute on Twitter or Facebook can find where you live and swat you, meaning they call a SWAT team to your address. In the past, there were even casualties of such hoax calls.
The best way to prevent these issues is to give as little information online as possible. Your accounts should not be connected, and your aliases should remain unknown. While it may seem that you are paranoid, reasons for doxxing and swatting can be quite trivial, such as an argument about which is the better hero in Overwatch.
If you are living in a less than democratic country, the government knowing your location and spying on your browsing data can even have legal consequences, for all kinds of perceived anti-establishment crimes.
The easiest way to block someone from a platform or service is to block their IP address. Additionally, it is not illegal of a private company to ban anyone for whichever reason.
This may not have been an issue just a couple of years ago when most bans were for actual online harassment and dissemination of some truly obscene materials. But on today’s internet, you can be banned for a wide variety of reasons.
Politics, religion, sexuality, race, gender, or place of residence -all can be a basis for a permanent ban.
Additionally, if you are a publisher or a content creator of any sort, twitter mobs can be made and sent to your home, because you have left your real IP address online and they now have your IP address location.
And again, for countries where human rights are not valued, all of these problems can be made by the government itself. In places like Iran, you can be banned for watching Harry Potter online, while even someone else mentioning the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 on an online game in China can get you in loads of trouble.
Currently just annoying, this will probably become the biggest issue for personal liberty in the future.
As both laws and practices stand now, the only thing corporations are allowed to do with your personal information is to send you promotions and ads, which may even be welcomed at times.
Regretfully, even this legal boundary doesn’t mean that some company will not sell the information they have on you, often done by a shady employee strapped for cash.
With just a few pieces of info, such as your name and your IP address you left when buying underwear at Target, an identity thief can dig their way up to your social security number and banking details, especially if you don’t have a high-quality cybersecurity system at home and don’t use a VPN.
Neither last not least, content restrictions will be made on your IP address for a variety of reasons.
If you are living in the European Union or the United States, these restrictions will usually be due to licenses and intellectual property rights. For instance, if you are living in the US and want to see the new season from a BBC show, you will need to change your IP address with a VPN to change your location, as it will be unavailable for a whole year in the States.
For many other countries, this includes much more than just TV shows, with whole subjects being banned due to religious, political, or other reasons.
Advantages of Changing Your IP Location
Aside from the obvious advantages of not suffering from any of the risks of showing your IP address location online, there are other benefits to using a VPN or Proxy to change your IP address.
It is relatively easy to find out your private IP address by checking online, and you will notice how it will change once you connect through a VPN server.
If you are using a mobile device, this will set your IP tracking coordinates to the place of the server, while still leaving your GPS coordinates as they are, meaning that you can still call an Uber as you did before.
Access to Content
If you are connected to a VPN server in the UK, typing a network address will move you directly to the local website that you want. In the case of Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon, you will see shows and movies that are exclusive for the region.
Additionally, if you are using Le VPN, you won’t need to use an IP address lookup tool to find the name of the server you are connecting to, but would rather use a simple web API to find the location you want and connect to it automatically.
Using a VPN has a double benefit when it comes to preventing anyone from snooping on you or your data.
Primarily, your geolocation data will not show the place where you are actually residing, but rather the VPN server. In the case of Le VPN, this will be a secured server in a restricted location in some of the 100+ locations in which they operate.
The second benefit is the firewall and encryption. If someone even tries to use your data, or any cookies you may have accepted, to track you back to your device, they will come up to the virtually impenetrable security systems of a premium VPN.
As cybersecurity is the VPN provider’s main job, their defenses are immaculate.
Virtual Private Network vs. Proxy Connection
Aside from changing your IP address location by using a VPN, it is possible to achieve this with a proxy connection as well. While this will work in a pinch, it is not recommended, as multiple security issues are covered by a premium VPN which are not covered by any proxy connection.
For one, it is very hard to connect to a proxy connection with all of your devices, especially when it comes to IoT devices and even some operating systems. As each app should be connected through a proxy individually, it would be time-consuming to work through all of the programs and applications you use on a daily basis.
Finally, there is a question of trust. A proxy connection, similar to a “free VPN”, can often be just a front for someone collecting data. If you don’t know who is behind the server, and where you can address the lawsuit if something happens, don’t use that service.
Although the IP address location tracking was not invented for malicious purposes, there are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to advertise your coordinates to everyone.
By using a premium VPN, such as Le VPN, our cybersecurity is increased immensely, as the first line of defense, we have would be a professionally maintained server.
Finally, changing our IP address location can be for fun. Not only would you be able to access foreign content databases by changing your virtual zip code, but you will also be able to watch videos and movies, as well as listen to music, that is suggested to some other region or country, which is always a fun experience.
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