Your phone can be reached by a number, your house via an address. Computers connected to the internet can be reached via an ip address. IP stands for Internet Protocol. An IPv4 address looks like this: 188.8.131.52. To connect many devices to the internet, IPv6 was introduced, which looks like this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334. Humans rarely type in IP addresses, but whenever you visit a website, an ip address is there under the hood.
For every connection to the internet, somebody ultimately pays a so-called “Intern Service Provider” (ISP). An ISP is able to send the bill to the billing address of their customer to charge for the usage of the Internet.
In the Netherlands, ISPs are required to send a daily list of personal data that belongs to an ip address to a central register. This Centraal Informatiepunt Onderzoek Telecommunicatie (CIOT) makes sure the information is available to investigative bodies, for instance to solve crimes.
On the Internet, there are websites enabling you to link an IP address to a geographical location. Most often, this is the location of the ISP’s terminal. The Internet end user is somehow connected to this terminal though, probably within a few kilometers.
In case of harassment the connection point of the ISP in practice helps many victims sufficiently to conclude who’s harassing them.
When computers exchange data, they need each other’s IP address. On the Internet, we often use third-party services such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail or a marketplace. The exchange of data is routed via the third-party computers, rather than directly from sender to receiver.
Some e-mail services send the IP address of the original sender from the message but these days, it’s rare to get your hands on the originators IP address. Unfortunately, the owners of third-party services only hand over the IP address and related information to the police in case of a criminal police investigation. From society, we hear that it’s often too much trouble for the police to request information from third parties. Hence, this web service.
You can bring along the following information to the police to report the crime:
* Date and time
* Email, IP and Internet addresses (URL)
* User name and nickname(s) of people involved
* Prints of chat logs and messages
* Screenshots (via print screen or take a picture)
The report is usually the beginning of a criminal police investigation.
From society, we hear it takes too much effort to investigate at third-party services who did it based on this information. IP-trap therefore helps you get the IP address of the offender yourself. Police now just need to address the offender’s ISP within six months. We love to read your experiences with these follow-up steps!