Privacy and IPv6: So you really surf anonymously!

Anyone who deals with the subject of IPv6 will find out very quickly that IPv6 assigns virtually every device connected to the internet a unique and unique IP address. This also means that users can monitor it clearly and above all very cost-effectively (less effort). This concerns all activities of the users, via the web server protocols as well as via interfaces in the Internet (Frankfurt Internet node). As a result of the further individualization of the IP addresses, this will also make clear data protection concerns even more urgent.


IPv6 - the Internet Protocol of the future

WSeit Langem is the Internet of address shortages the speech. IPv6 is presented as a solution to the problem because it significantly increases the number of addresses. The term IPv6 consists of two components. IP stands for "Internet Protocol", v6 for "Version 6". But IPv6 not only increases the number of addresses, but also brings a few other improvements.

IPv6 regulates data transmission over the Internet

IPv6 - The next generation Internet ProtocolTo understand the benefits of IPv6, you first need to know what the Internet Protocol is for. Among other things, IPv6 defines how many addresses there can be on the Internet. Every device on the Internet needs a unique IP address to enable the exchange of data with other devices. The data is transmitted in the form of packages that contain not only the actual content, such as the text on a website, but also administrative information. The management information is at the beginning of every package known in the jargon as "header". Among other things, the header states where a package comes from and where it should be sent. Only then, for example, can a web server know who has just made a request for a website and to which IP address he must return the desired content.

IPv6: More digits for the IP addresses eliminate address shortage

IP addresses on the Internet are therefore just as important as the postal code of a place: both allow a reliable delivery of a package to an addressee. What happens when the zip codes get scarce has shown reunification in Germany. With more than 12 000 communities and even more postal code areas in Germany, four jobs would not have been enough. The solution has been to increase the number of postcodes by extending them one place. Due to the old protocol IPv4, there was also an address shortage on the Internet. Again, the solution has been to expand the addresses of IPvX NUMX locations and increase their number. This does not only happen with more digits, but also with the use of letters instead of numbers.

The address shortage was predictable even before 20 years ago

The question of whether the address shortage was unpredictable, you can clearly answer with "no". The currently used Internet protocol in the version 4 was defined 1981 and allows a maximum of about 4,3 billion IP addresses. Whose part of it reserved for private networks are not available on the Internet. At that time no one could imagine that the Internet would eventually need more addresses, but at that time it was already clear that the addresses are strictly limited. The few computers with Internet access at that time were expensive mainframes and were mainly in universities, businesses or military institutions, Internet-enabled home computers or mobile phones was even unthinkable. The last free IPv4 addresses were distributed by the IANA to the regional contracting authorities in the year 2011.

IPv4 addresses - representation
IPv4 addresses - representation

IPv6 addresses - representation
IPv6 addresses - representation

Currently used techniques prevent rapid introduction of IPv6

However, the fear that the Internet will break down without IPv6 in the foreseeable future is unfounded. At present, various technologies are being used that artificially circumvent the problem of address shortages. German mobile networks, for example, share the same IP with several thousand users because the provider internally controls the individual assignment differently. The same applies to servers in the Internet, which have only one IP, but over which various websites are accessible. Among other things, the market introduction of IPv6 is delayed until the home area.

Limited privacy protection through IPv6

Privacy concerns due to fixed IP

There are already privacy concerns surrounding IPv6, because the large number of IPv6 addresses allows each device to be permanently assigned a fixed IP address, making it uniquely identifiable. In principle it would be possible with fixed IP addresses to permanently determine for each request, from which device it came. However, it is still disputed whether the IP address in the sense of German data protection law belongs to the personal data, which are considered to be particularly worth protecting. In Switzerland, however, the IP address was also declared to be worth protecting features of the protection of privacy. Which is why there is no disclosure of user data of IP addresses here, only state security and critical requirements of the law, may and may be approved by a judge, circumvent these rules and thus make users identifiable by an IP address. That's why VPNProvider from Switzerland very popular services outside the country.

So far, users generally receive a new IP address every time they dial in through the dynamic IP assignment of the Internet service providers. This is no longer necessary, but many ISPs still want to stick to this process for their private customers. So they can continue to charge a surcharge for static IP addresses, which are only useful for certain applications such as the operation of a server.

Static and dynamic address assignment

IP addresses consist of a network part and a device part. With IPv6 addresses, a user only gets the network part assigned by his ISP, the device part is generated by the network adapter in the used terminal - for example, PC, tablet or smartphone. The default method of IPv6 is to have the device part generated from the MAC address. This is unique to any network device in the world and could be identified, for example, each time you visit a web page, so that it would be possible to create a detailed profile. For privacy reasons, so-called privacy extensions were designed. With these, a network device automatically generates a changing device part, regardless of the MAC address, instead of creating a fixed address only once.

Even a dynamic IP address does not guarantee anonymity

Even though the user dynamically generates the device part of the IPv6 address using the Privacy Extensions, the provider part of the address may be specific enough to identify a single user or their Internet connection. In order not to be identified by the IPv6 address, therefore, both parts of the IP address must be obtained dynamically.

However, if criminal offenses are suspected, the police - as is already the case with IPv4 - can use the Internet Service Provider to determine which port the address was assigned to at the time in question, even if the IP address is still assigned to the ISP.

VPNProviders offer "non-traceable IP addresses"!

Even if currently hardly one VPN itself uses IPv6 addresses, so in the future the use of a VPNs become much more necessary. If you use an internet provider who already uses IPv6 you do not have to worry about which ones VPN he uses. The providers block the use of the IPv6 addresses mostly through their own applications and therefore they continue to use the IPv4 addresses for surfing the Internet. There is currently no reason to choose one VPN regardless of whether your own ISP now uses IPv4 and / or IPv4 + IPv6.


Created on:06/27/2018

Leave a Comment