When it comes to online privacy, the more savvy users are quite serious about keeping certain information like IP addresses under wraps.
So when an app makes it easy to retrieve such information, both privacy advocates and users are understandably upset.
Generally, an IP address can be resolved to a specific geographic location. However, that location may or may not be accurate – depending on your ISP and how the user’s network is set up.
For example, if a user is connecting to the ‘Net via a VPN, their IP address may show up as being on the west coast when they’re really on the east coast of the United States.
It’s also worth noting that my personal IP address resolves to an area roughly 100 miles away from my actual location, so accuracy obviously varies significantly.
As expected, many Skype users aren’t happy about the recent news that the company is investigating a tool that collects last known IP addresses by analyzing general information and log files. Indeed, instructions were recently posted to Pastebin detailing the methodology of capturing an individual’s IP address via Skype without having to add them as a contact.
Skype claims this is an ongoing industry-wide issue for all peer-to-peer software companies, and, as noted above, has kicked off an investigation with the ultimate goal of protecting users. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of flaws from Skype that would allow access to a user’s IP address, as reports of a similar issue surfaced back in October.