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Sharing my personal information


Antivia
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Hi Antivia,

SL needs your IP address to communicate, but that's not shared with other viewers. However, if you enable media of any kind, your IP address must be passed to the external media streaming server so it too can communicate with your computer. And that's a potential vulnerability, as those media streaming servers do not belong to Linden Lab.

Someone hosting a music stream (DJ) can easily get a log of all IP addresses coming and going from the stream, and they can correlate those arrivals and departures with the coming and going of avatars at the venue they're playing. And that's how they match (with varying degrees of success) IP address to resident name.

To protect yourself, be careful about when and where you enable media. If you are unsure of a venue but really want to listen to the stream, keep media disable until sometime after you arrive and carefully watch for nearby avatars. When you see someone else arrive, enable media. That at least injects a little misinformation. Similarly, when someone leaves, you might disconnect media for a moment and wait for someone else to arrive. That's a hassle of course, so you're probably better off using your noggin to judge the safety of a venue. If it's well established and busy, there's probably little to worry about.

With some ISPs, you can obtain a new IP address by switching off or resetting your modem. That also makes it difficult to associate an IP address with your avatar. This doesn't seem to work with Time-Warner Cable (or whatever they're called now), but I have had success by switching the router that's connected to my cable modem. I have two routers and every time I swap their connection to the modem I magically get a new IP address.

As for the sharing of personal information, LL only shares what you put in your profile or in your web feed and you can control access to the latter.

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I wouldn't worry so much about someone getting your IP address.  If you use an IP address lookup service and enter your's, you'll see it doesn't point to your exact location at all only the general area.  When I looked up mine the location given was only the city I live in and the pin point on the map was not near my actual location.

It is not illegal in SL to obtain someone's IP address in one of the ways that Maddy explained.  However it is against the TOS to share ANY RL or personal information you obtain with others, without your express permission. 

You can hide your IP address by using a proxy server when you go online too if you have reason to want to do that.

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