France: IP Addresses are no Longer Considered as Private?


My last post was a little bit funny but the quote came from a French newspaper article about a judgment which can have an effect similar to an earthquake in France! It’s about the “privacy” aspect of IP addresses. A previous justice decision made by Court of Appel in Rennes was broken by another Court of Cassation.

Previously, an IP address was considered as private and was protected by a French organization: the CNIL (“Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés“). Nobody was authorized to track IP addresses without the knowledge of the Internet users. Now, according to the judgment, anybody may collect IP addresses and contact the authorities (Police) to request the address details (who used the address and when).

This is a major step forward for anti-piracy organizations which track users on P2P networks. They can safely let sniffers run on P2P networks and collect data. But… Technically an IP address can be easily spoofed. What will happen if your IP address is found in a “bad users” list and your details communicated to anti-piracy organizations? How to prove your innocence?

The article is available here (in French).

One comment

  1. Guess your kinda screwed although they can always check all your computers to find files that you are suspected to have downloaded. they can find everything these days even if you wipe your drive.

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