NJ Says: IP Address = Private

From Ars Technica:

In the decision, the justices discuss the differences between IP addresses and return addresses on envelopes when discussing whether or not Internet subscriber information deserves an expectation of privacy. The justices say that IP addresses are sufficiently anonymous to justify privacy protection because, theoretically, only the Internet service provider can identify who is associated with a specific IP address.  Link.

Interesting stuff that, as Ars points out, is likely to become a more important topic down the road. How many times have you watched a crime procedural where the IP was magically tracked back to a person/address? In all the times I saw that I happen I never once considered that it might even be a violation of a person’s privacy.  But the judges make a good point, and Ars highlights, that:

The State compares IP addresses to the return addresses found on the outside of envelopes, which carry no privacy protection. But there is an important difference: letter writers choose to include their address on an envelope. They may also opt for anonymity and list no return address. Internet users have no such choice because they must have an IP address to access a website. In addition, the string of numbers that comprises an IP address and can be collected by a website is both less revealing and less public than a name or street address posted on an envelope,

As I said, interesting, a certainly food for thought as you do your daily browsing.

UPDATED- AIR vs. Silverlight vs. Prism

So Mozilla announced a new product recently: Prism.  Prism, as noted by the devs, is designed to compete with Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s AIR.  What are these obscurely titled things you ask?  Well as far as my neophyte ass can tell both Silverlight and AIR are plug-ins/development platforms used for web applications.  Web applications, like gmail, are the current internet development craze.  Finding new ways to deliver content to a population spending increasing amounts of time living in their browser.  The difference between the two programs being developed by evil corporate society Microsoft and Adobe and Mozilla’s Prism are hard to spot out of the gate (and with no experience with any of the aforementioned platforms).   As best I can tell the differences lay in the fact both Silverlight and Air are separate tools for delivering content.  Web apps are developed straight into and delivered directly by Air and Silverlight.  The advantage of Prism, as far as I can tell, lays in its ability to take already established web applications and wrap them in code that allows them to be directly accessed via one’s desktop using a browser stripped of unnecessary accouterments (navigation bar, etc.).  In other words allowing one to access web applications as if they were simply desktop applications and thus better integrating the desktop experience with the web itself.  Interesting stuff.

Of course I could completely wrong about how any of this stuff works, at least until I try it.

EDIT:  Thanks for the comments below.  For others curious I found an article from Infoworld that describes AIR a little better for us unititated types. 

Also, from Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie comes a good blog post with some more good information about Silverlight.