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MINN. STAT. § 609.87 "Subd. 2a. Authorization. "Authorization" means with the permission of the owner of the computer, computer system, computer network, computer software, or other property.
Authorization may be limited by the owner by:
(1) giving the user actual notice orally or in writing;
(2) posting a written notice in a prominent location adjacent to the computer being used; or
(3) using a notice displayed on or announced by the computer being used."
§ 609.891 Subd. 1 " Subdivision 1. Crime. A person is guilty of unauthorized computer access if the person intentionally and without authorization attempts to or does penetrate a computer security system. "
ECPA :: Cell Phone Location Information
- Minn. Stat. §§ 626A.28(3)(d), 626A.42(2); requiring law enforcement to apply for a search warrant to obtain this data.
"In July 2003, the Minnesota Department of Commerce filed an administrative complaint against Vonage with the Minnesota Commission, asserting that Vonage was providing telephone exchange service in Minnesota and was thus subject to state laws and regulations governing a “telephone company.” Among other things, the laws and regulations in question require such companies to obtain operating authority, file tariffs, and provide and fund 911 emergency services. The Minnesota Department of Commerce sought an administrative order from the Minnesota Commission to compel Vonage to comply with these state regulatory requirements. In response to the administrative complaint, Vonage argued that these state laws and regulations do not apply to it and that, even if they do, they are preempted by the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act or Act).
"In September 2003, the Minnesota Commission issued an order asserting regulatory jurisdiction over Vonage and ordering the company to comply with all state statutes and regulations relating to the offering of telephone service in Minnesota. In so holding, the Minnesota Commission declined to decide whether Vonage’s service is a telecommunications service or an information service under the Act. Instead, it found DigitalVoice to be a “telephone service” as defined by Minnesota law, thus subjecting Vonage to the state requirements for offering such a service. In response, Vonage filed suit against the Minnesota Commission in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. In October 2003, the district court entered a permanent injunction in favor of Vonage. The court determined that Vonage is providing an information service under the Act and that the Act preempts the Minnesota Commission’s authority to subject such a service to common carrier regulation. The court concluded that “VoIP services necessarily are information services, and state regulation over VoIP services is not permissible because of the recognizable congressional intent to leave the Internet and information services largely unregulated.” In January 2004, the court denied a motion by the Minnesota Commission for reconsideration, and an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit followed. The appeal remains pending."
- Vonage Holdings Corporation Petition for Declaratory Ruling Concerning an Order of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, WC Docket No. 03-211, Memorandum Opinion and Order, para. 10-11 (FCC Nov. 12, 2004 )
This case illustrates the impact of emerging technologies evolving ahead of the regulatory scheme intended to address them. The issue before the Court is tied to the evolution of the Internet and the expansion of its capability to transmit voice communications. Despite its continued growth and development, the Internet remains in its infancy, and is an uncharted frontier with vast unknowns left to explore. Congress has expressed a clear intent to leave the Internet free from undue regulation so that this growth and exploration may continue. Congress also differentiated between “telecommunications services,” which may be regulated, and “information services,” which like the Internet, may not.
Plaintiff Vonage Holdings Corporation (“Vonage”) provides a service that permits voice communications over the Internet. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“MPUC”) issued an order requiring Vonage to comply with Minnesota laws that regulate telephone companies. Vonage has asked this Court to enjoin the MPUC, arguing that it provides information services, and not telecommunications services.
The Court concludes that Vonage is an information service provider. In its role as an interpreter of legislative intent, the Court applies federal law demonstrating Congress’s desire that information services such as those provided by Vonage must not be regulated by state law enforced by the MPUC. State
regulation would effectively decimate Congress’s mandate that the Internet remain unfettered by regulation. The Court therefore grants Vonage’s request for injunctive relief.
In the Matter of the Complaint of the Minnesota Department of Commerce Against Vonage Holding Corp Regarding Lack of Authority to Operate in Minnesota, P-6214/C-03-108 (Minnesota PUC September 11, 2003)
In the Matter of the Complaint of the Minnesota Department of Commerce Against Vonage Holdings Corp. Regarding Lack of Authority to Operate in Minnesota, DOCKET NO. P-6214/C-03-108, Order Staying Order Of September 11, 2003(Nov. 30, 2004) "During the pendency of the appeal, the FCC released its November 12, 2004, Memorandum Opinion and Order In the Matter of Vonage Holdings Corporation Petition for Declaratory Ruling Concerning an Order of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, WC Docket No. 03-211 (“FCC Order”). The FCC Order determined, in relevant part, that “...the Minnesota Commission may not require Vonage to comply with its certification, tariffing or other related requirements as conditions to offering DigitalVoice in that state." Minnesota Halts Efforts to Regulate VoIP, topix 12/3/2004 MN PUC Option Paper on MN DOC Complaint Against VONAGE, MN 8/14/03 MN DOC Complaint Against VONAGE: Docket, MN PUC 8/14/03 MC DOC Complaint Against VONAGE: Procedure History, MN PUC 8/14/03 MC DOC Complaint Against VONAGE: Staff Briefing Papers, MN PUC 8/14/03 History: "On July 15, 2003, The [Minnesota] Department of Commerce (DOC) filed a complaint against Vonage Holdings Corporation (Vonage) alleging, among other things, that Vonage has offered and continues to furnish telephone services in Minnesota, including local exchange service and long distance service, without first obtaining a certificate under Minn. Stat. ss 237.16 and 237.74, for those services. The complaint further alleges that the manner in which Vonage provides local service violates Minnesota law in that if fails to provide adequate 911 service. The complaint includes a request for temporary relief. Holding: "The Commission finds that what Vonage is offering is two-way communication that is functionally no different than any other telephone service. This is telephone service within the meaning of Minn. Stat. ss 237.01, subd. 7, and 237.16, subd. 1(b) and is clearly subject to regulation by the Commission... For the above reasons, the Commission finds that it has jurisdiction over Vonage as a company providing telephone service in Minnesota, and the Commission will require that Vonage comply with Minnesota Statutes and Rules, including certification requirements and the provisioning of 911 service. Rule: "Minn Stat. s 237.01 subd 7 defines "telephone company" as follows:"Telephone company," means and applies to any person, firm, association or any corporation, private or municipal, owning or operating any telephone line or telephone exchange for hire, wholly or partly within this state, or furnishing any telephone service to the public. Parties: Vonage: "argued that its service was not a 'telephone service' within the statutory meaning of that term. Rather, Vonage argued that it was an 'information service' provider and, as such, was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission....It argued that while the function that Vonage provides is similar to that provided by traditional telephone companies, the manner in which Vonage provides its service is significantly different. It stated that it does not provides its customers with facilities for communication; rather, the customers must obtain access services independently from an ISP. DOC: [cites the FCC factors for whether VoIP is a telecom service as set forth in the Steven's Report, and argues that Vonage satisfies those factors] MCI: "recommended that the C dismiss the complaint, open an investigation to determine whether the service is a telecom service or an info service under the above statutes... argued that any decision made by the C regarding the regulation of a VoIP service will affect Universal Service Fund issues, intercarrier compensation issues and carrier obligations under s 251 of the Federal Telecom Act of 1996 (the Act). It will affect other parties than those that are the subject of this complaint. Motorola: "supports Vonage's motion to dismiss the complaint. [await FCC action] AT&T: "questioned the appropriateness of the C contemplating these broad policy issues based on an isolated fact pattern involving services offered by one company. Level3: "urged [PUC] to consider unintended consequences of any decision Sprint: "several disputed issues could affect Sprint's interests