Tracking Criminals with Internet Protocol Addresses: Is Law Enforcement Correctly Identifying Perpetrators?

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Volume 18, Online Edition (Apr 2017)

Technology’s ever-changing pace has left law enforcement officials with the job of finding legal ways to investigate and search suspected criminal activity. The advent of the Internet has left these officials with a challenging landscape to navigate regarding what is considered a search and what constitutes probable cause to obtain a search warrant based on a suspect’s online activity. As seen in various high-profile crimes, the technology-savvy individual can easily disguise and misdirect the IP addresses they use, notably when trying to hide illegal activity. This Recent Development argues that law enforcement must tread carefully when using Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses to obtain search warrants for suspected criminal activity because of the inherently unreliable information these addresses provide.

Erin Larson, Tracking Criminals with Internet Protocol Addresses: Is Law Enforcement Correctly Identifying Perpetrators?, 18 N.C.J.L. & Tech. On. 316 (2017), http://ncjolt.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Larson_Final-copy.pdf.

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