Judge Holds IP Addresses Identify a Computer Not a Person

“In order for ‘personally identifiable information’ to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies a computer,” U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones said in a written decision.

Jones issued the ruling in the context of a class-action lawsuit brought by consumers against Microsoft stemming from an update that automatically installed new anti-piracy software. In that case, which dates back to 2006, consumers alleged that Microsoft violated its user agreement by collecting IP addresses in the course of the updates. The consumers argued that Microsoft’s user agreement only allowed the company to collect information that does not personally identify users. Microsoft argued that IP addresses do not identify users because the addresses don’t include people’s names or addresses. The company also said that it did not combine IP addresses with other information that could link them to individuals.

via MediaPost Publications Court: IP Addresses Are Not ‘Personally Identifiable’ Information 07/07/2009.

Interesting decision. Of course it is fairly true. Since most IP addresses are doled out to consumers on a random rotating basis using DHCP, it would be easy to argue that a particular IP address does not “belong” to a particular person, so it is not a way of identifying them. In reality, IP addresses do stick around and often can be attached to a particular person. SOunds like a need for balance here.

links for 2009-07-08

Yawn, Google Chrome OS Finally Announced

The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

via Official Google Blog: Introducing the Google Chrome OS.

So, take an open source operating system, build a new window manager, add a killer app to capture the hearts and minds of the multitudes. Hmm, sounds like Apple and OSX and iTunes. Of course this is different, its GOOGle!!! Anyway, I’ll really just wait to see it in real life. Blog posts are cheap.