IPs as Personal Information

Via TL on FaceBook, a federal judge rules in a case vs Microsoft that IP addresses are not personal information… because they identify a computer, not a person.

So, to be clear: your car’s VIN number is not personal information; your address is not personal information; your place of employment is not personal information. Because none of it specifically identifies you, merely things associated with you. That’s good to know, because I’ll bet a lot of us thought differently up till now….

One might make the argument that, since IP addresses are leased by your cable or phone company – and since one IP address could actually be used for a number of different computers over time – IP addresses are therefore not your property. But if by using your IP address, an entity can narrow your location down to a few houses, that’s close enough to private information in my book.