This recent case was brought to my attention today: R. v. Ward, 2008 ONCJ 355 (CanLII). The decision is a ruling on a charter motion on whether evidence in a child pornography investigation should be admissible after the police obtained the identity of an internet user from an ISP without a warrant. Acting on a pretty solid tip from Germany, police identified three IP addresses that were associated with dealing with child pornography. Instead of getting a warrant, the police when to the ISP, Bell Sympatico, and got the name and address of the subscriber associated with the IP address. (I have no doubt that the tip would be enough to get a warrant.)
Justice Lalande distinguished this case from R. v. Kwok, by pointing out that the user agreement with Bell Sympatico reduces if not destroys any reasonable expecation of privacy that the user may have. In order for a warrantless search to be reasonable, there has to be no reasonable expecation of privacy.
In this case, the conclusion seems to be that the customer has an expectation of privacy in their name and address unless the ISP has actively taken steps to remove it. Interesting.
For a flashback to 2006, check out