Mark Diaz: Great write up, covers the basics very well..
Michael Antal: +Benjamin Wright Thanks for the comment and questions. I have found that the best source for updated provider contact information is http://www.search.org/resources/isp-list/. This is intended to be a list for the support of law enforcement in criminal cases, but it is publicly available, and I see no reason why its use should be restricted. Many times on this site, the information will state how to send a subpoena, court order, preservation requests (via fax) directly to the right department/person. For instance, if you bring up Verizon there is a fax number specifically for preservation requests. The caveat is that, in my limited experience, there is inconsistency with regard to the responsiveness of providers in non-criminal cases. In a not-so-distant past I was in law enforcement and most providers were responsive to preservation requests. However, since I am not an attorney, I am not in a position to make these requests (followed by a subpoena or court order), and therefore I can't provide the same level of experienced insight regarding the success or cost of the process in non-criminal cases.
That said, I would also be interested in the success rates of preservation orders filed by attorneys in non-criminal cases.
Benjamin Wright: +Michael Antal Thank you for the reply and the link. I was not aware of that link.
I suspect some, maybe many, ISPs would take no action to comply with a mere preservation request in a non-criminal matter (where the ISP itself is not a party).