Comprehensive Overview (state-by-state) of the Legal Impact of wiretapping:

Connecticut

Current status

Connecticut has distinct policies with regard to interception of communications, based on whether the communication is face-to-face or telephonic. At least one party’s consent is needed to record an in-person conversation, but all parties must consent or be notified of recording a telephonic conversation in which they are about to be engaged.

The state’s voyeurism law prohibits taking visual images of another person without that person’s consent or knowledge when there is an expectation of privacy.

Impact of law

Under Connecticut law, to legally record a telephonic conversation, all parties must be notified at the beginning of the conversation. However, the notification may be as evasive as “an automatic tone warning device which automatically produces a distinct signal that is repeated at intervals of approximately fifteen seconds during the communication”. Additionally, the law sets a few exceptions where recording telephonic conversations without notification and consent is allowed: when a person received threats or when a person is bothered by repeated calls.

However, the wiretapping law only refers to “telephonic or telegraphic communication or a communication made by cellular radio telephone” or “ a conversation or discussion” which leaves room to interpret the case of electronic communication, such as one’s privacy on the internet.

Regarding video-surveillance intrusions, Connecticut prohibits the recording of other persons on the basis of reasonable expectation of privacy, without setting the context, like it is the case with other states.

References to Physical TSCM

The law uses the phrase “by means of any instrument, device or equipment” to reference possible means of wiretapping or eavesdropping. It is reasonable to believe that the law is intended to address all common (physical) means of surveillance.

References to Cyber TSCM

Connecticut law does not specifically address nor exclude cyber means of eavesdropping, only referencing “any instrument, device or equipment” that can be used for such purpose.

Criminal implications

Eavesdropping and voyeurism are both class D felonies and are punishable by imprisonment for one to five years[1].

Civil implications

A victim of illegal interception of telephonic communication may bring a civil action I to recover damages, together with costs and a reasonable attorney’s fee[2].

Code excerpts

Conn. Gen. Stat. 53a-187, -89[3]

Sec. 53a-187. Definitions. Applicability.

(a) The following definitions are applicable to sections 53a-188 and 53a-189:

(1) “Wiretapping” means the intentional overhearing or recording of a telephonic or telegraphic communication or a communication made by cellular radio telephone by a person other than a sender or receiver thereof, without the consent of either the sender or receiver, by means of any instrument, device or equipment.

(2) “Mechanical overhearing of a conversation” means the intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation or discussion, without the consent of at least one party thereto, by a person not present thereat, by means of any instrument, device or equipment.

Sec. 53a-188. Tampering with private communications: Class A misdemeanor.

(a) A person is guilty of tampering with private communications when:

(1) Knowing that he does not have the consent of the sender or receiver, he obtains from an employee, officer or representative of a telephone or telegraph corporation, by connivance, deception, intimidation or in any other manner, information with respect to the contents or nature of a telephonic or telegraphic communication; or

(2) knowing that he does not have the consent of the sender or receiver, and being an employee, officer or representative of a telephone or telegraph corporation, he knowingly divulges to another person the contents or nature of a telephonic or telegraphic communication.

(b) Tampering with private communications is a class A misdemeanor.

Sec. 53a-189. Eavesdropping: Class D felony. (a) A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in wiretapping or mechanical overhearing of a conversation.

(b) Eavesdropping is a class D felony.

Sec. 53a-189a. Voyeurism: Class D felony.

(a) A person is guilty of voyeurism when,

(1) with malice, such person knowingly photographs, films, videotapes or otherwise records the image of another person

(A) without the knowledge and consent of such other person,

(B) while such other person is not in plain view, and

(C) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy[…]

(b) Voyeurism is a class D felony.

Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-570d[4] – Action for illegal recording of private telephonic communications.

(a) No person shall use any instrument, device or equipment to record an oral private telephonic communication unless the use of such instrument, device or equipment

(1) is preceded by consent of all parties to the communication and such prior consent either is obtained in writing or is part of, and obtained at the start of, the recording, or

(2) is preceded by verbal notification which is recorded at the beginning and is part of the communication by the recording party, or

(3) is accompanied by an automatic tone warning device which automatically produces a distinct signal that is repeated at intervals of approximately fifteen seconds during the communication while such instrument, device or equipment is in use.

 

 

[1] Source: http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-35a

[2] Source: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dtsearch_pub_statutes.html

[3] Source: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/sur/chap_952.htm#sec_53a-187

[4] Source: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dtsearch_pub_statutes.html