All personal information on the internet, no matter how trivial, is protected from warrant less search and seizure, says the New Jersey Supreme court.
The Supreme Court of New Jersey, in a unanimous 7 judge decision, ruled that internet users have the same expectation of privacy. “just as New Jersey citizens have a privacy interest in their bank records stored by banks and telephone billing records kept by phone companies.” Quote from Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, writing for the court.
The ruling can be found here (PDF format). The ruling referenced both U.S. Constitution fourth amendment, and New Jersey Constitution in making this ruling. The case dealt initially with IP addresses and other private and/or personal information necessarily sent to a 3rd party (ISP, in this case Comcast). However, the ruling was much more broad, encompassing ‘all information, no matter how trivial’. The ruling quoted from a law review article on the laws,
“[informational privacy] encompasses any
information that is identifiable to an
individual. This includes both assigned
information, such as a name, address, or
social security number, and generated
information, such as financial or credit
card records, medical records, and phone
logs . . . . [P]ersonal information will be
defined as any information, no matter how
trivial, that can be traced or linked to an
This ruling was expected, as “Federal case law interpreting the Fourth Amendment has
found no expectation of privacy in Internet subscriber information.”
In the case at hand, “The trial court properly suppressed the subscriber information obtained.”