IP Address Data Is Not Analogous to Cell Site Location Information and Therefore Does Not Require a Warrant
State v. Kelvin Briggs
Ind. No. 18-08-0647-I
Decided July 15, 2019
Approved for Publication September 19, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In an opinion recently approved for publication, Defendant filed a motion to suppress internet protocol (“I.P.”) address data, which the court ultimately denied after conducting oral argument and considering the written submissions from defense counsel and the State.
In this case, police issued an emergency disclosure request to a cell service provider, requesting the customer name, email address, and recent IP addresses for a certain phone number. Police received subscriber information and an IP address log. A subsequent subpoena to an ISP provider revealed that the IP addresses belonged to various casino resorts in Las Vegas. The State also issued grand jury subpoenas to Google for subscriber information and IP information for several Gmail addresses. The information provided by Google contained IP addresses for several hotels and casinos in Las Vegas.
In support of his motion to suppress this IP data, the defendant argued that IP address data was akin to cell site location information, which the U.S. Supreme Court in Carpenter v. U.S., 138 S. Ct. 2206, ruled could only be obtained via warrant.
The State argued that IP address data was not analogous to cell site location information and therefore did not require a warrant. The State contended that a person did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his location when they shared it with internet providers by logging into their network.
The court denied defendant’s suppression motion, noting that various federal circuit courts had declined to extend Fourth Amendment protection to IP address data. The court held that, unlike cell site location information that could provide information about a person’s whereabouts and movements, IP address data did not provide information about a person’s movements. Instead, the court noted that IP address data only provided limited information about physical locations where a person had accessed the internet. Thus, the court ruled that police were not required to obtain a warrant to obtain the IP address data at issue.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to motions to suppress evidence potentially obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.
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