(Fwd) Re: wire tapping

Jay Shoup (jashoup@indiana.edu)
Mon, 20 May 1996 18:08:13 +5000

Actually Federal Wiretapping Laws apply weather the call is inter or
intra state. All communications forms are regulated under federal law
as opposed to state laws. The are a whole series of federal
regulations pertaining to communication. They are published on behalf
of the Federal Communications Commission that congress has set up to
regulate the communications industry and all aspects of
communications. In fact federal regulations prohibit, in most cases,
states from implementing communications laws.

These regulations can be found in several sub-parts called the FCC
Rules and Regulations. The sections that pertain to Phone calls are
very explicit and occupy a whole set of volumes by themselves.

And yes, recording with out the expressed permission of the parties
involved is a federal offense. (Exclusion is of course with a

If you look in the front of most telephone white pages you will find a
section that deals with the legality of wiretapping.

Just as an interesting note, it is actually unlawful for a parent to
"wiretap" his children's or (spouses calls for that matter) phone
calls.. Several people have been found guilty and fine/imprisoned for
doing so.

Video taping is a bit different, the laws are much more ambiguous
there. But you should note, that recording any form of communications
that utilize a public switched network (IE the telephone) is a crime.
What the data is is irrelevant. IE Recording Video/Audio/Text that
comes from Cuseemee over a phone line would be construed as

In the case of some medium that has the recording option built in such
as many IRC programs the law may become less clear, one might be able
to argue that the parties involved were aware that the software had
the capability as a built in component and that one could and should
reasonably expect that text based information to be recorded.
Therefore one may not be able to argue an unlawful wiretap has taken
place. Although if I were the one doing the recording I would not want
to bet my cookies on it.....

> There are not that many laws on taping video of someone.
> And as far as a phone conversation goes, alot of places you are
> allowed to record a phone conversation without the other party's
> consent as long as you the caller knows about it. Its just that in
> some states the info is not submissable in court.
> I believe there is a federal law that states you must make a caller
> aware your calling him IF the call is coming from or going to another
> state.
> I think we need an attorney
Don't be a stranger, if you do I can't get in the car with you...
FTP : anonymous login

Jay Shoup
Eigenmann Hall RM 1281
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indidiana 47406
(812)857-2240 <Voice/Fax>

The 'Murphy Factor'.

The law states, "The statistical probability for a successful
presentation of a concept or idea seeking general acceptance
is inversely proportional to the number of observers observing
an experiment or project multiplied by a factor of (.5)".