First Circuit again holds that IP information is third party information not governed by Carpenter. United States v. Morel, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 11457 (1st Cir. Apr. 19, 2019):
1. IP Address Information
Morel challenges the district court’s decision that “subscriber information provided to an internet provider is not protected by the Fourth Amendment’s privacy expectation.” Morel, 2017 WL 1376363, at *7 (quoting Perrine, 518 F.3d at 1204-05). Morel argues that this reasoning is no longer valid after Carpenter.
Our decision in Hood resolves this argument against Morel. 2019 WL 1466943, at *4. In Hood, the defendant was indicted on charges of transportation and receipt of child pornography, and moved to suppress evidence, including his IP address information, that was connected to information shared on a smartphone messaging application. Id. at *1-2. Like Morel, the defendant in Hood argued that under Carpenter, the third-party doctrine should not apply to IP address information that the government gathered from the smartphone messaging company.
Hood rejected this argument, because unlike CSLI information, IP address information on its own does not provide information concerning location. Id. at *4. “The IP address data is merely a string of numbers associated with a device that had, at one time, accessed a wireless network.” Id. And, unlike CSLI, “an internet user generates the IP address data … only by making the affirmative decision to access a website or application.” Id. Morel attempts to distinguish Hood on the ground that here, Morel “accessed the internet from a personal computer that he used in his family home.” But Hood did not turn on the location from which the defendant accessed the internet. IP address information of the kind and amount collected here — gathered from an internet company — simply does not give rise to the concerns identified in Carpenter. As in Hood, Morel did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the IP address information that the government obtained from Imgur. It is that information which connected Morel to the uploaded images.