Menu
Button: Make a Payment Button: Newsletter Mailing List

Icon: Healthcare LawHands-On Experience

Providing legal advice

and services since 1977

§ 968.31 (2006) - Interception and Disclosure of Wire, Electronic or Oral Communications Prohibited

Wisconsin
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 968. COMMENCEMENT OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Wis. Stat. § 968.31 (2006)
968.31. Interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications prohibited.

(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in ss. 196.63 or 968.28 to 968.30, whoever commits any of the acts enumerated in this section is guilty of a Class H felony:

(a) Intentionally intercepts, attempts to intercept or procures any other person to intercept or attempt to intercept, any wire, electronic or oral communication.

(b) Intentionally uses, attempts to use or procures any other person to use or attempt to use any electronic, mechanical or other device to intercept any oral communication.

(c) Discloses, or attempts to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication in violation of this section or under circumstances constituting violation of this section.

(d) Uses, or attempts to use, the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication in violation of this section or under circumstances constituting violation of this section.

(e) Intentionally discloses the contents of any oral, electronic or wire communication obtained by authority of ss. 968.28, 968.29 and 968.30, except as therein provided.

(f) Intentionally alters any wire, electronic or oral communication intercepted on tape, wire or other device.

(2) It is not unlawful under ss. 968.28 to 968.37:

(a) For an operator of a switchboard, or an officer, employee or agent of any provider of a 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 or her employment while engaged in any activity which is a necessary incident to the rendition of his or her service or to the protection of the rights or property of the provider of that service, except that a provider of a wire or electronic communication service shall not utilize service observing or random monitoring except for mechanical or service quality control checks.

(b) For a person acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where the person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception.

(c) For a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication where the person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception unless the 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 or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.

(d) For any person to intercept or access an electronic communication made through an electronic communication system that is configured so that the electronic communication is readily accessible to the general public.

(e) For any person to intercept any radio communication that is transmitted:

1. By any station for the use of the general public, or that relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles or persons in distress;

2. 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;

3. By a station operating on an authorized frequency within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band or general mobile radio services; or

4. By any marine or aeronautical communications system.

(f) For any person to engage in any conduct that:

1. Is prohibited by section 633 of the communications act of 1934; or

2. Is excepted from the application of section 705 (a) of the communications act of 1934 by section 705 (b) of that act.

(g) For any person 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 the interference.

(h) For 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 the system, if the communication is not scrambled or encrypted.

(i) To use a pen register or a trap and trace device as authorized under ss. 968.34 to 968.37; or

(j) 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 the 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 the service.

(2m) Any person whose wire, electronic or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of ss. 968.28 to 968.37 shall have a civil cause of action against any person who intercepts, discloses or uses, or procures any other person to intercept, disclose, or use, the communication, and shall be entitled to recover from any such person:

(a) Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of 100 a day for each day of violation or 1,000, whichever is higher;

(b) Punitive damages; and

(c) A reasonable attorneys fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

(3) Good faith reliance on a court order or on s. 968.30 (7) shall constitute a complete defense to any civil or criminal action brought under ss. 968.28 to 968.37