Comprehensive Overview (state-by-state) of the Legal Impact of wiretapping:
Louisiana Code uses the same provisions as the Federal Code, regarding the interception of communications, criminalizing the interception or recording of communications without having the consent of at least one party engaged in the communication. In the case of private communication, the law prohibits the interception of wire, oral or electronic communications by any person, unless he or she is a party to the communication or has received prior consent from one of the parties. In the case of video surveillance, the law prohibits recording other persons without their consent when such recordings are for lewd or lascivious purposes.
Impact of law
In Louisiana, a person can lawfully record his or her own communications, whether oral, wire or electronic, without notifying the other parties and without their consent. However, to record third-party communications, one must have the consent of at least one of the participants. Recording and disclosing the contents of a communication without proper consent are punished.
The state’s video voyeurism law forbids the use of any type of device to observe or record a person that has not consented to the recording, if the recording “is for a lewd or lascivious purpose.” The text of the law does not mention an explicit nudity or sexual context, like in the case of other states.
References to Physical TSCM
The same analysis as in the case of other states that have adopted the federal provisions is in order. Louisiana law prohibits the illegal “interception of any wire, electronic, or oral communication”.
First, the law defines the term “intercept” as the acquisition of the contents of communication “through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device”.
The phrase “electronic, mechanical, or other device” is then defined as “any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept” a wire, electronic, or oral communication.
We can thus assert that the law addresses illegal interception through the use of any device which can be used to intercept any wire, electronic, or oral communication. This is an all-inclusive perspective, that can literally address any means of wiretapping and available devices.
References to Cyber TSCM
As stated earlier, In the case of intercepting electronic communication, the law mentions the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device as means for illegal acquisition of electronic communication content. From further definitions, we assert that such devices are considered to be “any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept” “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature”. This description can be interpreted to cover all available cyber-surveillance tools.
A violation of the state’s eavesdropping law carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years of hard labor and a $10,000 fine.
Violation of the state’s video voyeurism law can be punishable by a prison sentence of up to 2 years and a fine of up to $2,000.
Anyone whose private communications are intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law is entitled to a civil suit and the recovery of actual and punitive damages, attorney fees and other litigation costs. The minimum amount awarded as actual damages is $1,000 or $100 per day for each day of violation, whichever is greater.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 1303. Interception and disclosure of wire, electronic, or oral communications
- Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Chapter, it shall be unlawful for any person to:
(1) Willfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire or oral communication;
(2) Willfully use, endeavor to use, or procure any other person to use or endeavor to use, any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when:
(a) Such device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communication; or
(b) Such device transmits communications by radio or interferes with the transmission of such communication;
(3) Willfully disclose, or endeavor to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire or oral communication in violation of this Subsection; or
(4) Willfully use, or endeavor to use, the contents of any wire or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire or oral communication in violation of this Subsection.
- Any person who violates the provisions of this Section shall be fined not more than ten thousand dollars and imprisoned for not less than two years nor more than ten years at hard labor.
(4) It shall not be unlawful under this Chapter for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire or oral communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception […]
(5) It shall not be unlawful under this Chapter:
(a) For the ultimate receiver of wire or electronic communication, or an investigative or law enforcement officer to use a pen register or trap and trace device as provided in Part III of this Chapter.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 15:1312. Recovery of civil damages authorized
- Any person whose wire, electronic, or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of this Chapter 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 such communications, and be entitled to recover from any such person:
(1) Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of one hundred dollars a day for each day of violation or one thousand dollars, whichever is greater.
(2) A reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.
(3) Punitive damages.
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 14:283 – Video voyeurism; penalties
- Video voyeurism is:
(1) The use of any camera, videotape, photo-optical, photoelectric, or any other image recording device for the purpose of observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping a person where that person has not consented to the observing, viewing, photographing, filming, or videotaping and it is for a lewd or lascivious purpose; or
(2) The transfer of an image obtained by activity described in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection by live or recorded telephone message, electronic mail, the Internet, or a commercial online service.
B.(1) Except as provided in Paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Subsection, whoever commits the crime of video voyeurism shall, upon a first conviction thereof, be fined not more than two thousand dollars or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than two years, or both.