Monday, November 28, 2016

Unreliable Informants: IP Addresses, Digital Tips and Police Raids

Unreliable Informants: IP Addresses, Digital Tips and Police Raids

The digital revolution has given law enforcement more tools to help track and identify us than ever before. Yet as law enforcement increasingly relies on electronic evidence to investigate crimes, one of the most readily available tools, Internet Protocol addresses (IP addresses), have become increasingly misused and misunderstood by law enforcement and judges alike.  Law enforcement too often overstates the reliability of IP address information in seeking warrants and other process (such as subpoenas), using metaphors that create a sense of certainty where it does not always exist. Additionally, courts often don’t know what questions to ask about IP address information or how to evaluate its reliability.