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Court Rules, Reddit Isn't Required to Disclose IP Addresses of Piracy Commenters

Reddit has once again prevented movie companies from revealing their users IP addresses.

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An IP (Internet Protocol) address may just be a very simple data related to an online user but it’s increasingly becoming a focal point of argument with regards to personal privacy and even first amendment in the United States.

Case in point: Reddit’s refusal to provide their users’ IP addresses in the latest case of piracy trial.  Movie companies, seeking compensation on their pirated content, have sought the help of the court to compel Reddit to reveal the IP address of their six users as part of their lawsuit against an ISP or Internet Service Provider.

The request for users’ IP address is actually the third attempt by movie companies in their goal to get some sort of personal information related to their piracy case against the ISP.

According to a latest report circulating online, movie companies tried to compel Reddit to reveal the IP address instead of the user's personal information. In their previous attempts, their request was actually the users’ personal information and comments related to piracy to a specific ISP.

Their argument for asking for the IP address is actually very simple: an IP address is not a person so it should not be protected. Besides, the movie companies are not against the users but to the ISP itself for not making enough effort to thwart piracy in their network.

Just like the previous requests, the court ruled that Reddit does not have to provide the IP address of the individuals requested by the movie companies. However, the court used the decision made by Doe v. wherein the request of this type of information is not entirely relevant to the case. In short, movie companies should use a different route in finding evidence against ISPs and there are more direct ways to gather evidence to prove their case.

Why It Matters To You

IP Address as part of personal privacy should matter to everyone. Every online interaction is logged with an IP address and it can be used to identify someone. Although it rarely provides a definitive location of the user, it can be considered as an identifier especially with the ISP. This means your IP address may not directly pinpoint your location, but your ISP knows it's your internet account that is connected to a specific website. If you’re concerned about online security, protecting your IP address as well as your online activities should be protected as much as possible.

Upgrading Protection with the Right Tool

It’s important to protect your personal information and activity online as much as possible and fortunately, there are a good number of tools to consider to achieve such protection. A proxy server, a VPN or a privacy focused browser such as TOR can be a great option to ensure your online activities are not monitored or could be traced back to you. Of course, each of these options have their pros and cons so be sure to find the best fit for you. Your IP address does not have to be readily available to anyone who wants it and should be protected at all times.

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