CAPE CORAL, Fla. - After an anonymous user posted a comment threatening the Cape Coral City Council members on the News-Press website, WINK News took a closer look at how easily these people can be tracked.
Marcus Hayes from The Byte Shop in Naples says whether it's a message board, Facebook, or YouTube, when you post a comment, you leave a trail that can be followed right back to your computer.
You are always tracked by a unique identifier on your computer as well as your IP address. Your IP address tracks who is using it, when and where. This can be traced to the manufacturer, then the reseller, and finally, to the user.
And he says this information can be picked up by pretty much anyone, from everyday hackers, to police to the government. So be careful what you post.
"Really after 9/11, the Government got a lot more involved with the ISPs and the providers to track information and what's going on in the world and the internet, so since that has happened in the world, people are being watched a lot more carefully," Hayes said.
Hayes says if police call for an investigation, all they have to do is subpoena the information, and they can have it in 24 to 48 hours.
So, just because you may go by an alias or screen name, does not assure you anonymity.