Can Google Trace the IP Address for a Created Gmail Account?

by Dan Hayes

In this day and age, remaining anonymous on the Internet is a difficult challenge, and email is no exception. Gmail, like all email providers, logs your IP address when you create your account as well as every time you log in. Moreover, Gmail requires SMS authentication from your mobile phone upon sign-up and may delete your account if it detects too many IP addresses accessing it. This is a protection against spammers, but it can also prevent you from using anonymizing software like Tor (link in Resources), which routes your traffic through anonymous IP addresses.

Remaining Anonymous

Close-up of a person operating a laptop

If you need to use an email account anonymously, you have to switch to a separate service like Hushmail (link in Resources). Hushmail allows you to use Tor when creating an account and while accessing it afterward. Keep in mind, though, to remain anonymous you must always use Tor software when accessing this account. If you access it just once with your real IP address, you could give away your anonymity.

Tracing Someone Else's IP Address

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If, on the other hand, you want to trace someone else's Gmail IP address, look under the message's full headers. If the message was sent from Gmail's Web interface, the originator's IP address will be hidden, but if she sent it through an email client such as Thunderbird, it's possible to see her IP address.

About the Author

Dan Hayes has blogged about technology, specializing in Linux and personal computing, since 2010. He has written short fiction and film scripts, with several short stories published and a screenplay sold.

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