Vermont District Court Holds Ip Address Governed by the Third-Party Doctrine

The genesis of this investigation was from a private company that processes photos that discovered suspected child pornography among the photos. Company employees contacted law enforcement to give them the photographas as well as the email address associated with the order to print those photos.

Law enforcement then issued a subpoena for that service provider to turn over subscriber information for that account. The provider turned over that information, as well as services utilized by the account, the date the account was created, the date and time of the last login, and the IP addresses associated with the account for the time period in question.

The District Court, in denying the motion to suppress, rejected the argument that the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the account information provided to the government. The Court held that the third party doctrine still governed this information, citing a string of cases: United States v. Contreras, 905 F.3d 853, 857 (5th Cir. 2018); United States v. Tolbert, 326 F. Supp. 3d 1211, 1225 (D.N.M. 2018); United States v. Rosenow, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 198054, 2018 WL 6064949, at 11 (S.D. Cal. Nov. 20, 2018); United States v. Felton, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 25400, 2019 WL 659238, at *5 (W.D. La. Feb. 15, 2019).

The case is United States v. Therrien, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42248, D. Vermont (March 13, 2019).

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