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« Cartoon | Main | Fine of £5,000 reflects a wider data protection malaise »

09/07/2009

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This is extremely interesting. I think it may also have implications for services such as Woopra (see http://bit.ly/rmFqU where I have blogged about it) where a person monitoring web traffic can choose to "speak" unexpectedly to any visitor, or so the blurb says.

I also have a strong objection to Streetview (blogged at http://bit.ly/L3KOR to say so) which also seems dilatory at removing or blurring the things they state that they blur.

Interesting idea. On a lot of broadband networks (as privacy advocates have pointed out when arguing that IPs can constitute personal data), you can often have the same IP address for significantly protracted periods; I've been at same IP all year now.

I was wondering if you think it could give extra strength to an IP address user's claim (of ownership over data relating to that address) if they registered a domain with one of the free dynamic IP services (e.g. no-ip.com, dyndns.com etc.) and kept it updated with their ISP-provided IP address as it changed. The ISP might attempt to claim the IP address as its property that it is merely lending to you to use, and assert that it has the right to that data (and even to enter into deals to provide that data for marketing purposes); by having a domain name, I think you'd be tying it more personally to you and your identity through the domain owner role, and as the IP address from your ISP changed over time, you could argue that the changing history of your domain and the IP to which it points constituted an aggregation or collection of data in which you had rights as the creator.

FYI, your trackback URI has an invalid XID. I tried to do a trackback ping for my blog post at http://tech-and-law.blogspot.com/2009/07/make-ip-address-personal-data-reclaim.html commenting on your post, and it wouldn't work.

For an IP address to be personal data, there would have to be a one-to-one relationship between a person and his or her IP address. This is surely not the case.

The IP address that an Internet application sees is only the address of your firewall.* Behind that IP address there may be, and often are, many people: a home, an Internet cafe, a public library or a whole office block full of unconnected individuals all of whom appear to have the same IP address. The IP address of the actual device you're using is likely to be a private one (such as 192.168.x.x) which is unique only within your network. Conversely, many of us move around and have different IP addresses at different times, especially now that Web-based applications make a personal computer less necessary. So it's difficult to see how an IP address can be regarded as private and personal.

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* There are (amazingly) people who are foolish enough to connect to the Internet without a hardware firewall or even a router. For such people, with one computer connected by an ADSL modem to their broadband connection, their IP address may be unique to them. But they are surely in the minority. It certainly can't be assumed that all users are like that.

The ISP might attempt to claim the IP address as its property that it is merely lending to you to use, and assert that it has the right to that data (and even to enter into deals to provide that data for marketing purposes)

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