IP Address Confusion

Mr_Question asked 3 years ago

As far as I understand, a laptop is assigned a different IP address for each different location it connects to (each different wireless network would assign a different IP address to the SAME laptop). A computer DOES NOT have a unique IP address unless it always connects to the same network.

If I connect to an open wireless network, say, at a hotel, is it possible for my download/upload activity to be tracked to my individual computer, or to me? Or can it only be tracked as far as having taken place at the hotel, and no further than that? Similarly, if there are multiple laptops at a single house with one wireless router, is it possible to tell which laptop did the downloading/uploading?

The RIAA typically busts people who download/upload at their own home, thus they might always have the same IP and are easily tracked. But if people do the deed from a wireless hotel internet connection, can they POSSIBLY get caught? If so, HOW do they track you? I'm not talking about plugging in to a cable in your hotel room, I am talking about open wireless networks at hotels, that may or may not require a password.

Please, constructive comments only (and only if you know some answers). I've Googled myself to death trying to find an answer with no luck. Thanks!

2 Answers
wimiadmin Staff answered 3 years ago

Yep...they can track it to you.

The information they have about your computer will be the MAC Address. Those are very unique....as a matter of fact, I don't think any 2 in the world are alike.

With that being said, the hotels, or other open wireless networks are either only going to store this data for a short period of time, or not at all. BUT, the ISP could store this data for quite some time. In order for them to find you, you'd have to connect back to their network....they'd have to go the hotel and physically look at every single laptop connected to the network in order to see that it was you.

Rob Vargas Staff answered 3 years ago

I'm not going to get into a long debate about this, but I feel it is necessary *and* constructive to remind everyone that filesharing copyrighted works is wrong. Period. Unless you have explicit permission from the copyright owner to do so.

I am no fan of RIAA, MPAA, or any of the other industry lobbying groups that are attacking legitimate Fair Use and individual rights on Copyright. But that doesn't mean that violating copyright is OK.

There. I've had my say.

As for the technical information, I'd simply be parroting what's already been said. The MAC address is the key to ID'ing a person even on various networks. It can be "spoofed." IANAL, but I think using it to hide yourself is illegal.

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