In a letter to the country’s Social Security Administration, Iceland’s Data Protection Authority Personuvernd states that IP addresses are not a reliable way to determine a person’s true location.

The DPA was reviewing a decision of the state Social Security Administration that had relied on an IP address to determine whether individuals on the unemployment register had been abroad, since the right to unemployment benefits generally lapses during a stay abroad unless the purpose of the stay is to look for work.

The DPA said:
  • Information on IP addresses cannot, in itself, be considered reliable within the meaning to verify the location of individuals. Such addresses do not accurately reflect the location in some cases, including, for example when a VPN is used.
  • The information gleaned from IP address can, however be verified through investigative measures in the event of suspicion of residence abroad.

Full text of the letter from Iceland’s Data Protection Authority.