The Legal Aspect of IP Address and its Impact on Privacy: An Analytical Study in Civil Law
Prof. Mohamad Sulaiman Al Ahmad
Professor of Civil Law – College of Law – University of Sulaymaniyah – Irak Visiting Professor – University of Sharjah – UAE
Dr. Abdulkarim Saleh Abdulkarim
Assistant Professor of Civil Law College of law and political science University of Duhok – Irak
The IP address is the digital ID of any device connected to the Internet. Therefore the treatment of this digital ID, through digital experience, decodes the relationship between the numbers “0” and “1”, and the identification numbers of each device, whether it is a computer, laptop, mobile phone, or any device that allows the use of the Internet via Wi-Fi or wired connection. Knowing this address usually leads to knowing the person who owns or uses the device, which may expose the right to privacy to be violated.
The research follows the analytical approach. The research on the legal dimension of the IP address has several aspects. The first is related to the stage prior to the attempt to disclose privacy, and the second is related to the next stage on the disclosure of privacy. The previous stage relates to the extent to which people are obliged to disclose their personal identities when acquiring electronic devices. Are they allowed to hide their identity when they use it? Who is entitled to follow people, reveal their identities, and report them, and is it permissible to use professional expertise to investigate the disclosure of real owners or actual users of devices, especially mobile devices? And when is it available for people to do so?
As for the next stage to reveal the IP address, aspects related to legal responsibility are concerned, especially for people who intentionally hide their personal identities to commit electronic crimes, harassment, or joking among those who are not familiar with pranks, and how responsible is the tracker of IP addresses to reveal people’s secrets, privacy, and breach their digital or financial accounts? All of these actions and behaviors are closely related to the protectionist system of people’s rights to safeguard their privacy and prevent abuse.
The study is divided into two chapters preceded by an introduction that clarifies the nature of the IP address. The first chapter is devoted to determining the legal dimensions of the phase preceding the disclosure of the IP address, while the second chapter focuses on the legal dimensions of the phase following the disclosure of the IP address. The conclusion presents the most important findings and recommendations.
The study recommended that a legal text should be drafted in a special law related to the protection of the right to privacy in order to prevent ISP and Social media websites from storing personal data through IP address or cookies, especially those related to family issues, previous criminal records and financial situation, except for purposes that serve the public interest.
Keywords: IP address, civil responsibility, internet, user identity, privacy protection.