First let me specify that this question is about U.S. law. My mentions of EU law are just to put everything into perspective.

I was reading that 4chan is required by law to log IP.

"As required by law, even communities such as 4chan do require the logging of IP addresses of such anonymous posters".

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_post

Does anyone know why? Is it because the posts are made by anonymous users?

My problem is this. My forum is visited by people from EU as well, and according to upcoming EU regulations, EU is increasingly pressuring it's controllers (like forum owners) to anonymize personal data (because if you don't = good luck to you), so that's what I'm trying to do right now regardless of the varying opinions on the matter, but on the other hand, I'm afraid that laws in the US will require me to store full IP once my users are anonymous which would inevitably defeat the purpose, unless such law (if truly existent) would allow me to store truncated IP addresses?

I've searched the web for hours trying to find any info on this, but nothing suggests that there is any such law. Could it be that Wikipedia is simply wrong?

  • 1
    4chan records your IP address anyway because they use IP-based banning. The anonymity is for other posters, not the host, in that case.
    – JAB
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 21:57

1 Answer 1


Anyone can say anything on Wikipedia – even they tagged that claim as requiring a citation. There's no way to directly prove that there is no such requirement, but these guys maintains that there are no such laws in the US, and EFF says the same thing. This Wiki page agrees, giving details about a specific bill introduced in the House and also in the Senate in the 111th Congress that did not become a law (it did not survive the scrutiny of the judiciary committee in either case). Another failed attempt was in the 112th Congress.

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    That was very informative. Thank you. I've additionally researched data retention requirements in EU and it seems that in most countries ISPs are not required to store IP addresses either, except in Sweden. Commented May 4, 2017 at 8:25

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