Police Do Not Need a Warrant to Access Internet Service Provider Information

Posted by Raymond Kimble | Jan 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

Internet Service Providers (ISP's) are companies that provides people with access to the internet.  With respect to individual users, an Internet Service Provider will assign a string of numbers to a customer's modem.  This string of numbers is known as an "Internet Protocol."  Consequently, when users communicate and share information online or access websites, the Internet protocol addresses of the parties is recorded.  Moreover, individuals must provide their subscriber information to Internet Service Providers in order to acquire their service. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that police do not need a search warrant to obtain a person's Internet Protocol address or specific subscriber information.

The United States Constitution guarantees people the right to be secure in the "persons, houses, papers and effects" against unreasonable searches and seizures.  As technology develops, the 4th Amendment protections have extended to the contents of people's cell phones, tracking devices on vehicles, etc.  Moreover, police can generally search a protected area only when their given consent by the owner or after they've acquired a warrant signed by a judge which is supported by probable cause.

The 4th Amendment applies and limits law enforcement's ability to search places where people have a "legitimate expectation of privacy."  For example, this might include a person's home, office, vehicle, etc.  However, it would not extend to property which is abandoned, thrown away as garbage or where a persons disavows an ownership interest.

In the case of Internet  Protocol (IP address) or Subscriber Information (Names, Home Address), the Arizona Supreme Court determined there is no legitimate expectation of privacy because people who access the internet, exchange information and download data from websites voluntarily provide their personal information to third party Internet Service Providers.  Consequently, once users are their information public by accessing the internet, any expectation of privacy is forfeited.  As a result, police need only to serve a subpoena on an Internet Service Provider to obtain information concerning an IP address, where the user is located and the user's identity.

Although this case concerned a police investigation related to child pornography, it could affect anyone using the internet for activities which are suspected of being illegal.  For example, people selling items suspected of being stolen, advertising marijuana or other drugs for sale online or engaging in internet gambling could find themselves at risk of arrest and prosecution based on law enforcement's discovery of internet subscriber information.  

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If you have been charged with a crime or DUI in Arizona, contact me for a free and immediate consultation.  I have represented thousands of individuals during the last twenty years who have been charged with offenses ranging from DUI and drug offenses to aggravated assault and homicide and have achieved very favorable results.  I have also conducted a number of jury trials in the city, justice and superior courts throughout Maricopa County.

About the Author

Raymond Kimble

About Raymond Kimble Attorney Raymond Kimble has built his law practice on the philosophy that each client deserves consistent individual attention. Ray realizes that being charged with a DUI or criminal offense is one of the most stressful events in a person's life. A DUI, felony or misdemeanor arrest can involve prison or jail time, probation, huge fines and a criminal record. Consequently, people who face DUI, felony or misdemeanor charges in Arizona are placed at risk of losing employment or being barred from future job opportunities. Ray works to lessen his client's anxiety by ensuring that they have direct access to him at all times and can reach him by e-mail, cell phone or text during normal business hours as well as nights or weekends if they have a pressing question or concern. Raymond Kimble is a dedicated DUI and criminal defense lawyer who has built a reputation of working tirelessly to protect his client's constitutional rights, their future and liberty. Ray strives to provide the strongest defense possible for each client despite the obstacles they may face. Put Experience to Work for You Raymond Kimble's twenty years of experience with respect to DUI, misdemeanor and felony criminal charges extends well beyond law school where he graduated within the top ten percent of his class. Ray was a police officer for ten years prior to becoming an attorney. As a police officer, Ray was trained in both DUI and criminal investigation and his personal involvement in criminal cases while a police officer certainly gives him a unique perspective when reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses and challenging physical evidence. Ray often identifies legal issues or mistakes made by police during an investigation through his own personal experience as a patrol officer. In addition to his police experience, Raymond Kimble worked as a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office where he was responsible for prosecuting DUI, felony and misdemeanor crimes. During his tenure as a prosecutor, Ray conducted a number of jury trials and hearings related to the admissibility of evidence. Through his involvement with these cases as a prosecutor, Ray learned how to properly evaluate the strength and weaknesses of a DUI, misdemeanor or felony charge and became skilled in jury selection, argument, and the direct and cross examination of both civilian witnesses, experts and police officers. Of course, Raymond Kimble's expertise extends beyond his experience as a police officer and prosecutor. Specifically, Ray has successfully represented thousands of people during the last fifteen years throughout Maricopa County, Arizona. To best serve his Clients, Raymond remains current on changes in the law as well as police tactics by regularly attending seminars focused on defending criminal charges and reading the latest articles and books related to DUI and criminal defense. Ray also regularly writes criminal defense blogs and posts so that people faced with a criminal charge are better informed about their rights.


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