This may be a dumb question....

  mm56 16:46 07 Aug 2007

...but I really AM an 'absolute beginner' with a PC. I have just bought and started using a PC at home..and also have discovered the joys of internet shopping (oh dear!)

A question I would like answered, please: if I have logged on (I have Broadband) and I am browsing through shopping websites, etc. - but not giving out my name, email, etc. - can the people who run such websites go into their system to find out my name, address, personal details, etc. by identifying my PC's IP address...? Are IP addresses logged somewhere, with the name of the person who bought the computer (a bit like a phone book...), and easily identifiable by anyone with basic technical knowhow?

If so - I think I'd feel a bit vulnerable about logging onto any websites at all...

  Clapton is God 17:00 07 Aug 2007

The simple answer to your question is No.

IP addresses are not linked to your name, address, personal details or even your inside leg measurement. ;;-)

Take care, though, that when paying at online shopping sites that the site is 'secure'.

You can confirm this because the address of a secure site will become click here, etc instead of just click here, etc.

Also, if Internet Explorer is your browser, you will also see a yellow locked padlock at the right-hand side of the bottom task bar.

If neither of these is the case - do NOT give out your credit/debit card details at that site.

  Clapton is God 17:02 07 Aug 2007

Whoops, didn't want a 'click here'.

What I said was "the address of a secure site will start with https instead of just http".

  Clapton is God 17:22 07 Aug 2007
  bremner 17:41 07 Aug 2007

Your IP address is likely to be logged with every web site you visit.

The only people who hold details linking your IP address to your personal details is your ISP, who allocates the IP address.

However as your IP address is normally included with every email you send it does not take long before some of these details could be compiled by someone other than your ISP.

  mm56 18:07 07 Aug 2007

....sorry - another dumb question. Who or what is my 'ISP'? (And would they pass on my personal details if requested by a website or anyone else....?)

  Clapton is God 18:22 07 Aug 2007

Your ISP is your Internet Service Provider - the people you buy your internet service from!

"And would they pass on my personal details if requested by a website or anyone else....?"

Theoretically, no

  mm56 18:31 07 Aug 2007

Thanks, everyone, for the clear and helpful answers. It seems that I just have to be careful who I give my email address to, and also where/how I shop online. Is that a fair summary?? (I'm probably just being paranoid, and imagining someone, somewhere, passing on my shopping/consuming preferences to all kinds of marketing lists, etc....then being inundated with unwanted sales pitches and spam email)

  Kate B 00:37 08 Aug 2007

it's a good idea to have a second email address - a yahoo or hotmail one - separate to the address you give friends and family and to use the second address for shopping, as it will inevitably attract some spam.

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