Under what circumstances will the police subpoena Gmail for an IP address?

I have been harassed by my ex girlfriend but it has stopped a few months ago. She has not so much harassed me as she harassed my other ex girlfriend and my ex wife. I have recently gone on a dating site and started chatting to this woman. I told this woman about my ex and she emailed my ex to try make peace. I think this woman I was chatting is actually my ex trying to get information.

If I go to the police will they do anything? I have also gotten an email from my ex's husband where he says that I must stop lying to this woman I'm chatting to on the date site. The date site woman never contacted me again and blocked me after my ex told her I was lying.

1 Answer 1


Law enforcement only investigates crimes, and they have significant discretion regarding which crimes to investigate. If they considered a crime to have occurred in your case, they could certainly seek a court warrant requiring Google to turn over IP addresses.

More likely, you might have standing to seek relief in civil courts. In such a case, you could try to get the civil court to issue a subpoena for a third party like Google to provide IP addresses. Of course, you could have your civil suit contested by the counterparty, and even if not the court may decline to issue a subpoena, and if even if it issues one the third party may object to the court, or simply decline to comply with it.

  • Thank you for your detailed reply. Will it make a difference that I am based in the UK and the ex in South Africa.
    – user17092
    Mar 19, 2018 at 13:51
  • @Enquirer555 – Such significant jurisdictional divides make it extremely less likely that law enforcement will take an interest in any crime. They also make it much more difficult to press any civil action in court, because the court has to be able to claim jurisdiction over both parties.
    – feetwet
    Mar 19, 2018 at 14:09
  • Thank you again for guiding me through this. Last question - will my ex be able to get a protection from harassment order against me though? We are both South African citizens, I am on a temporary visa in the UK.
    – user17092
    Mar 19, 2018 at 14:16
  • @Enquirer555 – interesting scenario. I would assume that if she could get one in South Africa when you are in that country, she could get one even when you are out of the country. I don't know what that would mean for you while you're out of the country. You could ask about that and related scenarios in a separate question. (Be sure to take the Stack Exchange tour if you haven't yet!)
    – feetwet
    Mar 19, 2018 at 14:36

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