Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Ontario Court of Appeal rules no expectation of privacy in connecting IP address to customer name

The Ontario Court of Appeal has today released its decision in R. v. Ward, 2012 ONCA 660, in which it held that -- in the circumstances of the case -- a customer has no expectation of privacy in his or her customer name and address when the police come armed with an IP address. I haven't had a chance to digest the full decision, but it gets added to the list of cases that permit the police, in certain circumstances, to obtain customer details when they have the IP address of a suspect.

I expect that this will further embolden those who support the resurrection of lawful access legislation before parliament.

Similar to other cases that have found no expectation of privacy in customer name and address information, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that Bell Sympatico had expressly "circumscribed" its customer's expectation of privacy:

[100] Setting aside the contractual terms for the moment, I think the “reasonable and informed person” identified by Binnie J. in Patrick, at para. 14, would view a customer’s reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her subscriber information to be circumscribed by the service provider’s discretion to disclose that information to the police where it was both reasonable to do so and a PIPEDA compliant request for disclosure had been made by the police.

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