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.