News & Events

News & Events

8.1.2016

In re Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation: An IP Address Is Not Always Personally Identifiable Information

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Jane Brown authored an article titled “In re Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation: An IP Address Is Not Always Personally Identifiable Information.” In the article, she discusses the In re Nickelodeon Consumer Privacy Litigation decision and the ongoing questions surrounding IP addresses and if they should be considered personally identifiable information (PII) under the Video Privacy Protection Act.

An IP address has been likened to a computer’s fingerprint. If a statute identifies an IP address or other static assigned number as PII, that number is a great starting point to identify a user. For example, under COPPA and HIPAA, an IP address is as high on the spectrum of PII as a user’s first and last name. The rationale behind the ranking of an IP address in these statutes is that sometimes it is reasonable that an IP address can lead you to the user. Who’s looking for you also matters. It is reasonable that Google, using third-party cookies, can reasonably use your IP address to identify you.