November 3 2009 - Are IP addresses personal information?
Everything we do online can be potentially traced back to us through an Internet Protocol (IP) address - every Internet search we conduct, every website we visit, even the emails we send. While it may seem innocuous, possibly even useless information to many Internet users, it can be extremely valuable to anyone who would like to know where we have been and what we have been doing online (e.g., online marketers and law enforcement).
This leads to inevitable debates over how this information - which is nothing more than a string of numbers - should be treated in law. Is it personal information? If so, under what circumstances? Do we, or should we, have a reasonable expectation that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will not disclose our identities to law enforcement? This issue of PrivacyScan considers all of these questions from a Canadian legal perspective.