What Is An IP Address?
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a series of four numbers separated by a decimal. For example 188.8.131.52. To the majority of us, these numbers mean nothing. We don’t even know where to find them. That’s perfectly okay, but without them, we would not be able to connect to the Internet, send an email or upload photos to our favorite Social Media site. ICANN – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – is responsible for ensuring the domain name system (DNS) and internet protocol (IP) function together and expand.
Every computer is assigned an IP address, but that IP address is given to you by your Internet Service Provider, (ISP), and is located on their server or router, generally shared by numerous other customers. So the information associated with your IP address is that of your ISP, and not your individual computer. The most information that will be revealed in a reverse IP domain check is the location and name of your ISP, and not much more.
Reverse Checking An IP Address
When it comes to the legality of a reverse IP check, a lot depends on what you intend to do with the information. If you own a website, you have tools at your disposal, which gather every IP address from every visitor to your site, listing the IP address and country of origin. Other tools available will do a basic reverse IP check and list any commercial websites, which have linked the visitor to your website; all of which is perfectly legal.
Reverse domain search tools, which are available to the public, can show all information as recorded on the ICANN database. When a domain is purchased, the domain registrar is compelled by ICANN to record the name, address, and phone number of the entity registering the domain name. All of this information is readily available to the public if searched correctly.
As far as the legality of a reverse IP domain check is concerned, how can it be illegal to search for information relating to an IP address or domain name when it is easily obtainable?
Legal Or Illegal
Nearly every website tracks and records the IP address of every visitor browsing through their pages. Some websites do this for security reasons. If you purchase something online, the website may show your IP address on the checkout page, indicating that they have tracked and logged it for security purposes, whereas others do it for marketing purposes.
Under federal law, it is legal to use an IP address and other Internet search tools to establish where someone lives. Anyone can do a reverse IP check, but the data they will retrieve will generally not be enough to identify the computer’s owner without violating the law.
Bottom line – performing a reverse IP domain check is perfectly legal. What you do with the information you glean from that check may or may not be.