This case came to the Fifth Circuit based on a search warrant executed on the defendant’s home looking for, and finding, child pornography. The investigation started with an undercover agent seeing images on Kik, a moblie messaging application. A subpoena to Kik revealed the IP address from which the defendant’s purported user name originated. Once it was revealed that the IP address record information was in the hands of Frontier Communications, a subpoena to Frontier revealed the defendant’s residence. Then a search warrant was issued for the residence.
In response to the defense argument that the Government needed a warrant to acquire the Frontier records, the Court held that the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the family address as contained in Frontier’s records. The Court distinguished Carpenter and stated that these records are squarely within the third party doctrine cases of Smith and Miller since the Frontier records revealed only that the IP address was associated with the defendant’s residence. Because these records had no bearing on any person’s day-to-day movement, there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in that information.
The case is United States v. Contreras, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 27795, 2018 WL 4689962 (5th Cir.) (October 1).