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Unauthorized Publication of Communications, Telecom Act Sec. 705, 47 USC § 605 | FCC Fact Sheet
(a) Except as authorized by chapter 119 [ECPA], title 18, United States Code, no person receiving, assisting in receiving, transmitting, or assisting in transmitting, any interstate or foreign communication by wire or radio shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning thereof, except through authorized channels of transmission or reception,
(1) to any person other than the addressee, his agent, or attorney,
(2) to a person employed or authorized to forward such communication to its destination,
(3) to proper accounting or distributing officers of the various communicating centers over which the communication may be passed,
(4) to the master of a ship under whom he is serving,
(5) in response to a subpena issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, or
(6) on demand of other lawful authority. No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. No person not being entitled thereto shall receive or assist in receiving any interstate or foreign communication by radio and use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. No person having received any intercepted radio communication or having become acquainted with the contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) knowing that such communication was intercepted, shall divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such communication (or any part thereof) or use such communication (or any information therein contained) for his own benefit or for the benefit of another not entitled thereto. This section shall not apply to the receiving, divulging, publishing, or utilizing the contents of any radio communication which is transmitted by any station for the use of the general public, which relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress, or which is transmitted by an amateur radio station operator or by a citizens band radio operator
Legislative History / Wiretap Act
- Amended by Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control Act of 1968, Pub.L. No. 90-351, § 803, 82 Stat. 223 (1968)
- 1985 ECPA Report p 18:
"Congress did not play an active or effective role in surveillance policy until 1968. Prior to that time, the only legislation affecting official use of surveillance technology was unintended. In 1934, Congress remodified the Radio Act of 1927 as the Communications Act. Section 605 of the 1934 Act provided that “No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any communication and divulge . . . the contents. ” There was no specific legislative history for this section and it appears that the 1934 bill was not intended to change existing law. (See: S. Rep. No. 781, 73 Cong., 2d sess. 11 (1934)) This was the interpretation until 1938 when the Supreme Court, in Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 379, ruled that Section 605 prohibited all telephone wiretapping, even when done by Federal Government officers. In response, bills passed both houses of Congress allowing wiretapping under certain circumstances and with certain procedural requirements. But the session ended before the conference committee could resolve a difference between the two bills-the House bill explicitly criminalized unauthorized official surveillance. S. Rep. No. 1790, 75th Cong., 3d sess. 3 (1938), reprinted in 1914-59 Leg. Hist. 961. "Despite Congress’s failure to overrule Nardone by legislation, wiretapping continued because the Justice Department construed Section 605 as not prohibiting wiretapping itself, but only the interception and subsequent divulgence outside the Federal establishment. Additionally, the President issued an Executive order to allow wiretapping for national security purposes. "In the immediate post-war period, numerous bills authorizing electronic surveillance were introduced, but none was enacted into law. Starting in 1960, electronic surveillance became a major public issue and congressional activity became more focused and purposeful. The target was organized crime, a major priority of the Kennedy Administration. "The first major congressional action regarding surveillance was Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968." ECPA Replaces Sec. 605
- Watkins v. L. M. Barry& Co., 704 F.2d 577 (5th Cir. 1983)
- United States v. Hall, 488 F.2d 193 (9th Cir, 1973).
- Hodge v. Mountain States Tel. & Tel. Co., 555 F. 2d 254, 261- Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit 1977 " Congress intended the amended § 605 to be a "substitute" for the pre-1968 § 605, not merely a "reenactment." S.Rep. No. 1097, supra, at 107 "
- "Congress intended to shift all control of electronic surveillance operations to 18 U.S.C. §§ 2510-2520." United States v. Falcone, 505 F.2d at 482
- United States v. Russo, 250 F.Supp. 55, 58-59 (E.D.Pa.1966), the first clause of § 605 was not intended to prohibit the interception of wire communications, it was "designed to apply to persons such as telegram or radiogram operators, who must either learn the content of the message or handle a written record of communications in the course of their employment. Clause 1 recognizes that the integrity of the communication system demands that the public be assured that employees who thus come to know the content of messages will in no way breach the trust which such knowledge imposes on them."
- Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 379 (1937) Court ruled that Section 605 prohibited telephone wiretapping by anyone, including Federal Government officers
- FCC Broadband CPNI Proceeding 2016
- See Google SpyFi
- COMMENTS SOUGHT ON PRIVACY AND SECURITY OF INFORMATION STORED ON MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES CC Docket No. 96-115
In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, and Office of General Counsel jointly solicit comments regarding the privacy and data-security practices of mobile wireless service providers with respect to customer information stored on their users’ mobile communications devices, and the application of existing privacy and security requirements to that information. Since the Commission last solicited public input on this question five years ago, technologies and business practices have evolved dramatically. The devices consumers use to access mobile wireless networks have become more sophisticated and powerful, and their expanded capabilities have at times been used by wireless providers to collect information about particular customers’ use of the network—sometimes, it appears, without informing the customer. Service providers’ collection and use of this information may be a legitimate and effective way to improve the quality of wireless services. At the same time, the collection, transmission, and storage of this customer-specific network information raise new privacy and security concerns....
- THE WIRELINE COMPETITION AND CONSUMER AND GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS BUREAUS SCHEDULE PUBLIC WORKSHOP ON BROADBAND CONSUMER PRIVACY. News Release. News Media TXT
- April 28th 2015 FCC STAFF ANNOUNCE AGENDA FOR PUBLIC WORKSHOP ON BROADBAND CONSUMER PRIVACY. News Release. https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333155A1.docx https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-333155A1.pdf
- June 28, 2011: FCC Agenda and Panelists for Forum on Helping Consumers Harness the Potential of Location-Based Services. News Release: Archived Video
- Public Notice : The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (the Bureau) in consultation with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff will hold a public education forum featuring representatives of telecommunications carriers, technology companies, consumer advocacy groups and academia on June 28, 2011 , exploring how consumers can be both smart and secure when realizing the benefits of Location Based Services (LBS). Topics will include: how LBS works; benefits and risks of LBS; consumer DOs and DON'Ts; industry best practices; and what parents should know about location tracking when their children use mobile devices. The event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at FCC Headquarters, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington DC, 20554. This session, as well as comments received in response to this Public Notice, will inform a forthcoming staff report on LBS.
Over the last few years, LBS have become an important part of the mobile market and a boon to the economy. Commercial location-based services include applications that help consumers find the lowest-priced product nearby or the nearest restaurant. Additionally, innovations in the use of location technology have the potential to open up new services for consumers and to aid public safety entities with emergency response. But recent reports have raised concerns about the location-based information that is gathered when consumers use mobile devices. While the use of location data has spurred innovation, the FCC's National Broadband Plan recognizes that consumer apprehension about privacy can also act as a barrier to the adoption and utilization of broadband and mobile devices. Clear information and public education can help consumers better understand these services. Indeed, both the staff at the FTC and the Department of Commerce recently issued separate reports noting the growing importance of addressing concerns about location privacy.
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 0500
445 12th St., S.W.
Comments Due: July 8, 2011
Washington, D.C. 20554
Released: May 17, 2011
FCC STAFF TO HOST FORUM AIMED AT HELPING CONSUMERS
NAVIGATE LOCATION-BASED SERVICES
WT Docket No. 11-84
Forum Date: June 28, 2011
- FCC JOINS GLOBAL PRIVACY ENFORCEMENT NETWORK. Commission Commits to Strong International Collaboration to Protect Privacy. News Release. EB https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330173A1.docx
- FCC PLANS $10 MILLION FINE FOR CARRIERS THAT BREACHED CONSUMER PRIVACY. TerraCom and YourTel Allegedly Stored Customers' Personal Information Online in a Format Accessible Through Routine Internet Search. News Release.EB https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-330136A1.docx
- 1903: December 17: Wright Brothers successfully demonstrate flight at Kitty Hawk. Telegraph home their success. Message is intercepted in Norfolk and published in the Norfolk Virginia-Pilot in a "ludicriously inaccurate account" with the headline "FLYING MACHINE SOARS 3 MILES IN TEETH OF HIGH WIND OVER HILLS AND WAVES AT KITTY HAWK ON CAROLINA COAST." [David McCullough, The Wright Brothers, Chapter 6. Section 1]
- McDonald, Aleecia M. and Lowenthal, Tom, Nano-Notice: Privacy Disclosure at a Mobile Scale (September 09, 2012). 2012 TRPC.