Comcast (CMSCA) isn’t allowed to pass user data to the cops without receiving a valid subpoena, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled today.
The rulling stems from a 2005 case where a woman was indicted after changing her employers’ access code to a supplier’s Web site, after getting into an argument with her boss. Though she doesn’t seem to have stolen anything, she was charged with “second degree computer theft.” (Really!)
Comcast gave up the woman’s address, phone number, subscription type, IP address, e-mail address, and payment information, after receiving an invalid subpoena from a lower court that had the defendant’s last name spelled wrong.
The court ruled that Comcast has to receive a criminal subpoena from a grand jury to release that information.
Is this a trend? Maybe, tells Internet litigation lawyer Megan E. grey to the AP, or maybe not:
The ruling “seems to be consistent with a trend nationwide, but not a strong trend. It’s contrary to what is happening with rights of privacy at the federal level. But it’s all over the board for the states, with a mild trend toward protecting this information.”
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