Bebo, IP Addresses, and Infinite Workarounds

by on March 27, 2008 · 13 comments

Listening to another panel at the 2008 Tech Policy Summit I heard an interesting point brought up by Rachel O?’Connell the Chief Security Officer of Bebo. When signing up for a Bebo account, users are now shown their IP address and told that they are not anonymous when using Bebo. Presumably the user’s location information could also be displayed along with anything else that can be found doing a reverse DNS lookup.

I thought this was a novel thing to do and may be a real deterrent to cyber-bullies or potential online stalkers. So, I thought I’d post on it. Before I did, I ran a quick search on “Bebo IP address” using Google. Such a query will bring up a host of tools to mask your IP address while using Bebo. Presumably these are TOR type services or other proxies that route your traffic around and therefore obscure your originating IP.

So, is Bebo discouraging online baddies, or reminding them to anonymize their IP?

  • Ryan Radia

    Bebo only discourages those bullies too dumb to anonymize. There are a lot of them out there, though, so it seems like revealing IP addresses may be wise.

    You mention Tor, and there are lots of other methods of achieving online anonymity. Daisy-chaining free foreign proxy servers is a quick and dirty way of staying “off the grid” while browsing. Paid services like Relaaks and Anonymizer offer strong privacy assurances and VPN connections albeit using the vulnerable PPTP instead of IPSec.

    Bebo also reminds us that IP addresses don’t really correspond to the individual ISP subscriber. In the Internet’s infancy it was a fairly safe bet that a transmission from an IP address is origianlly from the PC of the subscriber, but no longer. The Courts still treat IP address like a physical address, ignoring the key distinction between the two.

    And baddies aren’t the only ones with good reason to anonymize. With privacy concerns growing as behavioral advertising and government surveillance become more widespread, I envision a future where a lot of people use anonymization strategies. I support ads based on behavioral targeting, but if some users don’t want their web history tracked, the market will provide solutions for obfuscating browsing habits.

  • Ryan Radia

    Bebo only discourages those bullies too dumb to anonymize. There are a lot of them out there, though, so it seems like revealing IP addresses may be wise.

    You mention Tor, and there are lots of other methods of achieving online anonymity. Daisy-chaining free foreign proxy servers is a quick and dirty way of staying “off the grid” while browsing. Paid services like Relaaks and Anonymizer offer strong privacy assurances and VPN connections albeit using the vulnerable PPTP instead of IPSec.

    Bebo also reminds us that IP addresses don’t really correspond to the individual ISP subscriber. In the Internet’s infancy it was a fairly safe bet that a transmission from an IP address is origianlly from the PC of the subscriber, but no longer. The Courts still treat IP address like a physical address, ignoring the key distinction between the two.

    And baddies aren’t the only ones with good reason to anonymize. With privacy concerns growing as behavioral advertising and government surveillance become more widespread, I envision a future where a lot of people use anonymization strategies. I support ads based on behavioral targeting, but if some users don’t want their web history tracked, the market will provide solutions for obfuscating browsing habits.

  • River

    wtf you chattin about mate no one actualy cares

  • River

    you have no friends if this is what you talk about

  • River

    bbbbbbbbbbllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh

  • River

    wtf you chattin about mate no one actualy cares

  • River

    you have no friends if this is what you talk about

  • River

    bbbbbbbbbbllllllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh

  • han

    heya!!

  • beah

    booooooo!

  • Everthing

    well how do you unflag yourself on bebo mobile because that not right if your flag and you cant do anything at all

  • Everthing

    well how do you unflag yourself on bebo mobile because that not right if your flag and you cant do anything at all

  • Everthing

    well how do you unflag yourself on bebo mobile because that not right if your flag and you cant do anything at all

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