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ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS PRIVACY ACT

UNITED STATES CODE


TITLE 18.  CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I--CRIMES
CHAPTER 119--WIRE AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS INTERCEPTION AND
INTERCEPTION OF ORAL COMMUNICATIONS

_____________________________

Sec. 2510. Definitions

   As used in this chapter--

       (1) "wire communication" means any aural transfer made  in
whole  or  in  part  through  the  use  of  facilities  for   the
transmission  of  communications by the aid of  wire,  cable,  or
other  like connection between the point of origin and the  point
of reception (including the use of such connection in a switching
station) furnished or operated by any person engaged in providing
or  operating such facilities for the transmission of  interstate
or foreign communications for communications affecting interstate
or foreign commerce and such term includes any electronic storage
of such communication;

    (2) "oral communication" means any oral communication uttered
by  a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is
not  subject to interception under circumstances justifying  such
expectation,  but  such  term  does not  include  any  electronic
communication;

      (3)  "State"  means  any State of the  United  States,  the
District  of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,  and  any
territory or possession of the United States;

      (4) "intercept" means the aural or other acquisition of the
contents  of any wire, electronic, or oral communication  through
the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device;

       (5)  "electronic, mechanical, or other device"  means  any
device or apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire,  oral,
or electronic communication other than--

         (a) any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment  or
facility,  or  any  component  thereof,  (I)  furnished  to   the
subscriber   or  user  by  a  provider  of  wire  or   electronic
communication service in the ordinary course of its business  and
being  used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary  course  of
its  business  or  furnished  by  such  subscriber  or  user  for
connection  to  the facilities of such service and  used  in  the
ordinary  course  of  its business;  or  (ii)  being  used  by  a
provider  of  wire  or electronic communication  service  in  the
ordinary  course of its business, or by an investigative  or  law
enforcement officer in the ordinary course of his duties;

          (b)  a  hearing  aid or similar device  being  used  to
correct subnormal hearing to not better than normal;

     (6)  "person"  means any employee, or agent  of  the  United
States  or  any State or political subdivision thereof,  and  any
individual, partnership, association, joint stock company, trust,
or corporation;

       (7)  "Investigative or law enforcement officer" means  any
officer  of  the  United  States  or  of  a  State  or  political
subdivision  thereof,  who  is  empowered  by  law   to   conduct
investigations of or to make arrests for offenses  enumerated  in
this chapter, and any attorney authorized by law to prosecute  or
participate in the prosecution of such offenses;

     (8) "contents", when used with respect to any wire, oral, or
electronic communication, includes any information concerning the
substance, purport, or meaning of that communication;

     (9) "Judge of competent jurisdiction" means -

            (a)  a judge of a United States district court  or  a
United States court of appeals;  and

            (b)   a  judge  of  any  court  of  general  criminal
jurisdiction  of a State who is authorized by a statute  of  that
State to enter orders authorizing interceptions of wire, oral, or
electronic communications;

      (10)  "communication common carrier" shall  have  the  same
meaning  which  is  given the term "common  carrier"  by  section
153(h) of title 47 of the United States Code;

    (11) "aggrieved person" means a person who was a party to any
intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communication or  a  person
against whom the interception was directed;

       (12)  "electronic  communication" means  any  transfer  of
signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of
any  nature  transmitted in whole or in part by  a  wire,  radio,
electromagnetic,  photoelectronic  or  photooptical  system  that
affects interstate or foreign commerce, but does not include--

          (A) any wire or oral communication;

           (B)  any communication made through a tone-only paging
device;  or

     (C) any communication from a tracking device (as defined  in
section 3117 of this title);

      (13) "user" means any person or entity who--

          (A) uses an electronic communication service;  and

          (B)  is duly authorized by the provider of such service
to engage in such use;
       (14)  "electronic communications system" means  any  wire,
radio,    electromagnetic,   photooptical   or    photoelectronic
facilities for the transmission of electronic communications, and
any  computer facilities or related electronic equipment for  the
electronic storage of such communications;

       (15)  "electronic communication service" means any service
which  provides to users thereof the ability to send  or  receive
wire or electronic communications;

      (16) "readily accessible to the general public" means, with
respect  to  a  radio communication, that such  communication  is
not--

          (A) scrambled or encrypted:

                (B) transmitted using modulation techniques whose
essential parameters have been withheld from the public with  the
intention of preserving the privacy of such communication;

          (C)  carried on a subcarrier or other signal subsidiary
to a radio transmission;

          (D) transmitted over a communication system provided by
a  common carrier, unless the communication is a tone only paging
system communication;

          (E) transmitted on frequencies allocated under part 25,
subpart  D,  E, or F of part 74, or part 94 of the Rules  of  the
Federal  Communications Commission, unless,  in  the  case  of  a
communication transmitted on a frequency allocated under part  74
that   is   not  exclusively  allocated  to  broadcast  auxiliary
services,  the communication is a two-way voice communication  by
radio;  or

          (F) an electronic communication;

      (17) "electronic storage" means--

          (A)  any  temporary, intermediate storage of a wire  or
electronic    communication   incidental   to   the    electronic
transmission thereof;  and

          (B)  any storage of such communication by an electronic
communication service for purposes of backup protection  of  such
communication;  and

      (18) "aural transfer" means a transfer containing the human
voice at any point between and including the point of origin  and
the point of reception.

_____________________________________________________________





Sec.  2511.  Interception  and  disclosure  of  wire,  oral,   or
electronic communications prohibited

    (1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter
any person who -

     (a)  intentionally intercepts, endeavors  to  intercept,  or
procures  any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept,
any wire, oral, or electronic communication;

           (b)  intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures
any  other  person  to  use or endeavor to  use  any  electronic,
mechanical,  or other device to intercept any oral  communication
when -

                (i)  such  device  is affixed  to,  or  otherwise
transmits  a  signal  through,  a  wire,  cable,  or  other  like
connection used in wire communication;  or

                (ii)  such  device  transmits  communications  by
radio, or interferes with the transmission of such communication;
or

                (iii)  such person knows, or has reason to  know,
that  such device or any component thereof has been sent  through
the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce;  or

                (iv)  such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place
on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment
the  operations  of which affect interstate or foreign  commerce;
or  (B)  obtains  or is for the purpose of obtaining  information
relating  to  the operations of any business or other  commercial
establishment  the  operations  of  which  affect  interstate  or
foreign commerce;  or
                (v) such person acts in the District of Columbia,
the  Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or  possession
of the United States;

             (c)    intentionally  discloses,  or  endeavors   to
disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral,  or
electronic communication, knowing or having reason to  know  that
the  information was obtained through the interception of a wire,
oral,   or   electronic  communication  in  violation   of   this
subsection;

           (d)  intentionally  uses, or  endeavors  to  use,  the
contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication,  knowing
or  having  reason  to  know  that the information  was  obtained
through   the  interception  of  a  wire,  oral,  or   electronic
communication in violation of this subsection;  or

     (e)  (i)  intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose,
to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic
communication,  intercepted  by  means  authorized  by   sections
2511(2)(A)(ii),  2511(b)-(c), 2511(e), 2516,  and  2518  of  this
subchapter,  (ii)  knowing or having  reason  to  know  that  the
information  was  obtained through the  interception  of  such  a
communication in connection with a criminal investigation,  (iii)
having obtained or received the information in connection with  a
criminal  investigation,  and  (iv)  with  intent  to  improperly
obstruct,  impede,  or interfere with a duly authorized  criminal
investigation,

shall  be  punished as provided in subsection  (4)  or  shall  be
subject to suit as provided in subsection (5).

    (2)(a)(i) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for  an
operator of a switchboard, or on officer, employee, or agent of a
provider  of  wire  or  electronic communication  service,  whose
facilities  are used in the transmission of a wire or  electronic
communication, to intercept, disclose, or use that  communication
in  the  normal  course of his employment while  engaged  in  any
activity  which is a necessary incident to the rendition  of  his
service  or  to the protection of the rights or property  of  the
provider  of  that  service,  except  that  a  provider  of  wire
communication  service to the public shall  not  utilize  service
observing  or random monitoring except for mechanical or  service
quality control checks.

    (ii)  Notwithstanding any other law,  providers  of  wire  or
electronic communication service, their officers, employees,  and
agents,  landlords, custodians, or other persons, are  authorized
to  provide  information, facilities, or technical assistance  to
persons  authorized by law to intercept wire, oral, or electronic
communications or to conduct electronic surveillance, as  defined
in  section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance  Act  of
1978,  if  such  provider, its officers,  employees,  or  agents,
landlord, custodian, or other specified person, has been provided
with--

           (A) a court order directing such assistance signed  by
the authorizing judge, or

          (B) a certification in writing by a person specified in
section  2518(7)  of this title or the Attorney  General  of  the
United States that no warrant or court order is required by  law,
that  all  statutory requirements have been  met,  and  that  the
specified  assistance is required, setting forth  the  period  of
time  during  which the provision of the information, facilities,
or   technical  assistance  is  authorized  and  specifying   the
information,  facilities, or technical assistance  required.   No
provider  of  wire or electronic communication service,  officer,
employee,  or  agent  thereof, or landlord, custodian,  or  other
specified person shall disclose the existence of any interception
or surveillance or the device used to accomplish the interception
or  surveillance  with  respect to  which  the  person  has  been
furnished  a  court  order or certification under  this  chapter,
except  as  may otherwise be required by legal process  and  then
only  after prior notification to the Attorney General or to  the
principal  prosecuting  attorney of  a  State  or  any  political
subdivision  of  a  State,  as  may  be  appropriate.   Any  such
disclosure, shall render such person liable for the civil damages
provided for in section 2520. No cause of action shall lie in any
court  against  any provider of wire or electronic  communication
service, its officers, employees, or agents, landlord, custodian,
or  other specified person for providing information, facilities,
or  assistance in accordance with the terms of a court  order  or
certification under this chapter.

    (b)  It  shall  not  be unlawful under this  chapter  for  an
officer,   employee,  or  agent  of  the  Federal  Communications
Commission,  in  the  normal course  of  his  employment  and  in
discharge  of  the monitoring responsibilities exercised  by  the
Commission  in the enforcement of chapter 5 of title  47  of  the
United   States   Code,  to  intercept  a  wire   or   electronic
communication, or oral communication transmitted by radio, or  to
disclose or use the information thereby obtained.

    (c)  It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for a person
acting  under  color  of  law  to  intercept  a  wire,  oral,  or
electronic  communication, where such person is a  party  to  the
communication  or  one  of the parties to the  communication  has
given prior consent to such interception.

    (d)  It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for a person
not  acting  under  color of law to intercept a  wire,  oral,  or
electronic  communication where such person is  a  party  to  the
communication  or  where one of the parties to the  communication
has   given  prior  consent  to  such  interception  unless  such
communication  is intercepted for the purpose of  committing  any
criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws
of the United States or of any State.

    (e)  Notwithstanding any other provision  of  this  title  or
section  705 or 706 of the Communications Act of 1934,  it  shall
not  be unlawful for an officer, employee, or agent of the United
States  in  the  normal course of his official  duty  to  conduct
electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as authorized by that Act.

    (f)  Nothing  contained in this chapter or  chapter  121,  or
section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934, shall be deemed to
affect the acquisition by the United States Government of foreign
intelligence   information   from   international   or    foreign
communications, or foreign intelligence activities  conducted  in
accordance  with  otherwise applicable Federal  law  involving  a
foreign electronic communications system, utilizing a means other
than  electronic surveillance as defined in section  101  of  the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and procedures  in
this  chapter  and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance  Act  of
1978   shall   be   the  exclusive  means  by  which   electronic
surveillance,  as  defined in section 101 of such  Act,  and  the
interception  of  domestic wire and oral  communications  may  be
conducted.

   (g) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter or chapter 121
of this title for any person -

                 (i)   to   intercept  or  access  an  electronic
communication  made  through an electronic  communication  system
that  is  configured  so  that such electronic  communication  is
readily accessible to the general public;

               (ii) to intercept any radio communication which is
transmitted -

                    (I) by any station for the use of the general
public,  or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons
in distress;

                     (II)  by  any governmental, law enforcement,
civil   defense,   private   land  mobile,   or   public   safety
communications  system,  including  police  and   fire,   readily
accessible to the general public;

                    (III) by a station operating on an authorized
frequency  within  the bands allocated to the  amateur,  citizens
band, or general mobile radio services;  or

                      (IV)   by   any   marine  or   aeronautical
communications system;

               (iii) to engage in any conduct which -

                     (I)  is  prohibited by section  633  of  the
Communications Act of 1934;  or

                     (II)  is  excepted from the  application  of
section  705(a)  of  the Communications Act of  1934  by  section
705(b) of that Act;

                 (iv)   to   intercept  any  wire  or  electronic
communication  the  transmission  of  which  is  causing  harmful
interference  to  any  lawfully  operating  station  or  consumer
electronic  equipment, to the extent necessary  to  identify  the
source of such interference;  or

                (v)  for  other  users of the same  frequency  to
intercept  any  radio communication made through  a  system  that
utilizes  frequencies  monitored by individuals  engaged  in  the
provision or the use of such system, if such communication is not
scrambled or encrypted.

   (h) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter -

                (i)  to  use a pen register or a trap  and  trace
device  (as  those terms are defined for the purposes of  chapter
206  (relating  to pen registers and trap and trace  devices)  of
this title);  or

                 (ii)  for a provider of electronic communication
service   to   record  the  fact  that  a  wire   or   electronic
communication was initiated or completed in order to protect such
provider,   another  provider  furnishing  service   toward   the
completion of the wire or electronic communication, or a user  of
that  service, from fraudulent, unlawful or abusive use  of  such
service.

   (3)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection,
a  person or entity providing an electronic communication service
to the public shall not intentionally divulge the contents of any
communication  (other than one to such person or  entity,  or  an
agent  thereof)  while in transmission on  that  service  to  any
person or entity other than an addressee or intended recipient of
such  communication  or  an agent of such addressee  or  intended
recipient.

      (b)  A  person or entity providing electronic communication
service  to  the  public may divulge the  contents  of  any  such
communication -

                (i) as otherwise authorized in section 2511(2)(a)
or 2517 of this title;

                (ii) with the lawful consent of the originator or
any addressee or intended recipient of such communication;

               (iii) to a person employed or authorized, or whose
facilities  are  used,  to  forward  such  communication  to  its
destination;  or

                (iv)  which  were inadvertently obtained  by  the
service provider and which appear to pertain to the commission of
a crime, if such divulgence is made to a law enforcement agency.

    (4)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection
or  in  subsection (5), whoever violates subsection (1)  of  this
section  shall be fined under this title or imprisoned  not  more
than five years, or both.

    (b) If the offense is a first offense under paragraph (a)  of
this  subsection and is not for a tortious or illegal purpose  or
for  purposes  of  direct  or indirect  commercial  advantage  or
private commercial gain, and the wire or electronic communication
with  respect to which the offense under paragraph (a) is a radio
communication  that is not scrambled, encrypted,  or  transmitted
using  modulation  techniques the essential parameters  of  which
have  been  withheld  from  the  public  with  the  intention  of
preserving the privacy of such communication, then -

                (i) if the communication is not the radio portion
of  a  cellular  telephone communication,  a  cordless  telephone
communication that is transmitted between the cordless  telephone
handset  and  the base unit, a public land mobile  radio  service
communication or a paging service communication, and the  conduct
is  not  that described in subsection (5), the offender shall  be
fined  under this title or imprisoned not more than one year,  or
both;  and

                (ii) if the communication is the radio portion of
a   cellular   telephone  communication,  a  cordless   telephone
communication that is transmitted between the cordless  telephone
handset  and  the base unit, a public land mobile  radio  service
communication  or  a paging service communication,  the  offender
shall be fined under this title.

    (c)  Conduct otherwise an offense under this subsection  that
consists  of  or  relates  to  the interception  of  a  satellite
transmission  that  is  not encrypted or scrambled  and  that  is
transmitted --

                (i)  to  a  broadcasting station for purposes  of
retransmission to the general public;  or

                 (ii)   as  an  audio  subcarrier  intended   for
redistribution  to  facilities  open  to  the  public,  but   not
including  data  transmissions or  telephone  calls,  is  not  an
offense  under  this  subsection unless the conduct  is  for  the
purposes  of direct or indirect commercial advantage  or  private
financial gain.

   (5)(a)(i) If the communication is --

                (A)  a private satellite video communication that
is  not  scrambled or encrypted and the conduct in  violation  of
this chapter is the private viewing of that communication and  is
not  for a tortious or illegal purpose or for purposes of  direct
or indirect commercial advantage or private commercial gain;  or

                (B) a radio communication that is transmitted  on
frequencies allocated under subpart D of part 74 of the rules  of
the  Federal  Communications Commission that is not scrambled  or
encrypted and the conduct in violation of this chapter is not for
a  tortious  or  illegal  purpose or for purposes  of  direct  or
indirect commercial advantage or private commercial gain,

then  the person who engages in such conduct shall be subject  to
suit   by   the  Federal  Government  in  a  court  of  competent
jurisdiction.

   (ii) In an action under this subsection--
                (A)  if the violation of this chapter is a  first
offense for the person under paragraph (a) of subsection (4)  and
such  person  has not been found liable in a civil  action  under
section  2520  of  this title, the Federal  Government  shall  be
entitled to appropriate injunctive relief;  and

                (B)  if the violation of this chapter is a second
or  subsequent offense under paragraph (a) of subsection  (4)  or
such person has been found liable in any prior civil action under
section 2520,

the person shall be subject to a mandatory $500 civil fine.

    (b)  The  court  may use any means within  its  authority  to
enforce  an injunction issued under paragraph (ii)(A), and  shall
impose  a civil fine of not less than $500 for each violation  of
such an injunction.

_______________________

Sec. 2512. Manufacture, distribution, possession, and advertising
of  wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepting  devices
prohibited.  (TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________

Sec.   2513.   Confiscation   of  wire,   oral,   or   electronic
communication intercepting devices.
(TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________

Sec. 2514. (REPEALED)

________________________

Sec. 2515. Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire  or
oral communications

Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted,  no
part  of  the  contents  of such communication  and  no  evidence
derived  therefrom  may  be received in evidence  in  any  trial,
hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand  jury,
department,   officer,  agency,  regulatory   body,   legislative
committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or a
political   subdivision  thereof  if  the  disclosure   of   that
information would be in violation of this chapter.

________________________

Sec.  2516.   Authorization for interception of  wire,  oral,  or
electronic communications.
(TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________

Sec.  2517.   Authorization for disclosure and use of intercepted
wire,  oral,  or  electronic communications.   (TEXT  OF  STATUTE
OMITTED)

________________________

Sec.  2518.   Procedure  for  interception  of  wire,  oral,   or
electronic communications.
(TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________


Sec.  2519.   Reports  concerning  intercepted  wire,  oral,   or
electronic communications.
(TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________


Sec. 2520. Recovery of civil damages authorized.

   (a) In general.  Except as provided in section 2511(2)(a)(ii),
any  person  whose  wire,  oral, or electronic  communication  is
intercepted,  disclosed, or intentionally used  in  violation  of
this  chapter  may in a civil action recover from the  person  or
entity  which  engaged in that violation such relief  as  may  be
appropriate.

    (b)  Relief.   In  an action under this section,  appropriate
relief includes--

          (1) such preliminary and other equitable or declaratory
relief as may be appropriate;

      (2)  damages under subsection (c) and punitive  damages  in
appropriate cases;  and

     (3)  a  reasonable attorney's fee and other litigation costs
reasonably incurred.

   (c)   Computation of damages.

     (1)  In  an  action under this section, if  the  conduct  in
violation  of  this chapter is the private viewing of  a  private
satellite  video communication that is not scrambled or encrypted
or  if  the  communication  is  a  radio  communication  that  is
transmitted on frequencies allocated under subpart D of  part  74
of the rules of the Federal Communications Commission that is not
scrambled  or encrypted and the conduct is not for a tortious  or
illegal  purpose or for purposes of direct or indirect commercial
advantage or private commercial gain, then the court shall assess
damages as follows:

                (A) If the person who engaged in that conduct has
not  previously been enjoined under section 2511(5) and  has  not
been found liable in a prior civil action under this section, the
court  shall  assess  the greater of the sum  of  actual  damages
suffered by the plaintiff, or statutory damages of not less  than
$50 and not more than $500.
                (B)  If,  on one prior occasion, the  person  who
engaged  in that conduct has been enjoined under section  2511(5)
or  has  been found liable in a civil action under this  section,
the  court shall assess the greater of the sum of actual  damages
suffered by the plaintiff, or statutory damages of not less  than
$100 and not more than $1000.

       (2) In any other action under this section, the court  may
assess as damages whichever is the greater of

                (A) the sum of the actual damages suffered by the
plaintiff and any profits made by the violator as a result of the
violation;  or

          (B)  statutory damages of whichever is the  greater  of
$100 a day for each day of violation or $10,000.

   (d) Defense.  A good faith reliance on --

           (1) a court warrant or order, a grand jury subpoena, a
legislative authorization, or a statutory authorization;

     (2) a request of an investigative or law enforcement officer
under section 2518(7) of this title;  or

      (3) a good faith determination that section 2511(3) of this
title permitted the conduct complained of;

is  a  complete  defense  against any civil  or  criminal  action
brought under this chapter or any other law.

    (e) Limitation.  A civil action under this section may not be
commenced  later  than two years after the date  upon  which  the
claimant  first  has  a reasonable opportunity  to  discover  the
violation.

________________________


Sec.  2521.  Injunction against illegal interception.   (TEXT  OF
STATUTE OMITTED)

________________________

Sec. 2522.  Enforcement of the communications assistance for  law
enforcement act.
(TEXT OF STATUTE OMITTED)

==============================================

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Please see Cornell Library citation of this law for the latest versions and updates.