An IP address is NOT a person

In a recent court decision, VPR Internationale v. Does 1-1017 (C.D. Ill.), the court found that IP addresses do not equate to a person.

There is no real way to prove any connection between an IP address and a person, but—at best—only a physical location to which the IP address is attached.  From there it must be shown that there is a specific device at the location and a specific person using the device to prove any misdeed.

This is a high burden but a fair one.

Because of technologies such as network address translation (NAT), any number of people can share an Internet connection.  Because of Wi-Fi, someone could be using that Internet connection who is outside of the home.

In the case, Judge Baker cited to a similar matter of a raid of a home where someone had downloaded child pornography at the place where the IP address resolved.  The home was raided and no such matter was found.  It was a neighbor who was using an available Wi-Fi network to cover his tracks.

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