IP Address as One of the Identifiers in Crime Investigation

IP Address as One of the Identifiers in Crime Investigation

Description: Every device that possesses access to the Internet is assigned an Internet Protocol address (IP address). From one side, your anonymity is in danger because cyber attackers can monitor your Internet activity. But at the same time, the IP address is hope for identifying criminals.

Definition of IP Address

Before we move to answer questions such as: can an IP address be used as evidence, when will police track an IP address, and how do the police identify a criminal through an IP address, let us define what are IP addresses? Simply speaking, an IP address is a number that helps to identify a computer on a network. 

Nowadays, two types of addressing systems are used. They are IPv4 and IPv6. IP addresses are divided into two categories: private and public. Private IP addresses are utilized to recognize machines on a closed network. One of the examples of private IP addresses is your home Wi-Fi network. Your router appropriates each device a unique and unrepeatable identifier in order for your PC to interact with your game console. IP addresses are utilized on the entire internet for the same goal.

Forms of IP Addresses

Your ISP (internet service provider) appropriates you an address, and it can take concrete form. There are two forms: static and dynamic. Static IP addresses are as the name implies, fixed. They are like your phone number. If you do not select a new one deliberately, it will remain the same. The reason is that they are usually utilized by things like servers. You want to possess an address on them that never alters.

Many users are in search of an answer to the “what’s my real IP” question. You can easily determine your address with the help of an IP checker. We know one great checker to help you respond to the what is my IP issue. With VeePN, you can not only determine your IP address but hide and change it if needed. It is recommended to have a response to the “what is my IP now” question in order to hide it so that nobody would identify you. This guarantees you will be free from cyber attackers and suspicious websites. Now, let us sort out how police can track an IP address and identify criminals?

Websites Retain Logs

The majority of websites keep logs about their visitors. This is useful and for a good reason. If you know how to read them, you can find out how your website is being utilized by external third parties.

Let us consider an example. Facebook website is utilized to commit a crime. A criminal created a fake account in order to publish material that violated local laws.

Law enforcement can learn who this person is by requesting an IP address connected with this action from an internet service provider. A subpoena is one of the legal means that is utilized to coerce individuals or businesses to give evidence as a rule under the threat of punishment for non-fulfillment.

Still, after law enforcement gets the IP address, they will need more information to establish the identity of the person. IP addresses can assist to identify computers but not people. In order to overcome this obstacle, investigators should first define which internet service provider possesses that IP address.

This is simpler than it seems. Internet service providers are registered in public databases. There are five registries. Therefore, in order to find the internet service provider, it will be enough to type the IP address in the needed database.

Internet Service Providers Retain Logs Too

After the managed IT service provider is defined, it is time to send another subpoena. We have mentioned previously that law enforcement coerces individuals or companies to give evidence. In the case of non-fulfillment of this requirement, individuals or businesses can get a fine or even a prison sentence. After that, law enforcement gets access to the name and address of the violator. This allows continuing an investigation.

But what to do if your internet service provider utilizes dynamic addresses? There is no need to worry because internet service providers retain logs like websites. After they look at their records, they can easily determine which subscriber was connected with that IP address at that concrete time.

Unfortunately, it does not mean the criminal is considered to be found. During committing a crime, a violator could utilize public Wi-Fi. This means that authorities have the possibility to trace the activity just to that public access point. The good news is that they can then continue the investigation. For instance, they can examine security camera records to find out who visited that institution or utilized that machine at a concrete time.

Is Tracking an IP Illegal?

Many people question themselves, “is IP tracking a crime?” IP tracking is illegal when it is utilized in person to person. IP addresses are regarded as personal data when referring to individuals. But there is another situation in B2B marketing. IP addresses that pertain to businesses are public information. Therefore, IP tracking is legal here. But can police track an IP address? Yes, law enforcement can harvest IP addresses to make criminals caught. You may wonder when will police track an IP address? In practice, investigators, as a rule, do this only in those cases when they are investigating any serious criminal cases.


Unfortunately, IP addresses cannot be utilized as evidence. Many attorneys have attempted to convict people of crimes in courts with a list of IP addresses. But IP addresses cannot identify the individual.

Still, IP addresses can be utilized by law enforcement as prompts for defining locations of criminals and initiating a case against them. IP addresses are one of the tools to track and identify criminals.

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IP Address as One of the Identifiers in Crime Investigation

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