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

Maine

Current status

Maine interception status bars the recording, interception, use or disclosure of personal communication without authorization from at least one sender or recipient of the communication. The law only addresses oral and wire communication. The state also has an invasion of privacy statute, which addresses trespassing and installing surveillance devices on one’s property without consent, as well as using recording devices to target someone in public places, under reasonable expectation of privacy.

Impact of law

A person can not record a private conversation, unless he or she is a party to the conversation or has been authorized by a party to the conversation to intercept or record the conversation. However, this also means that individuals can record their personal conversations without notifying the other parties. The law only addresses oral or wire communication.

Under Maine privacy law, it is illegal to record other people in areas where they may reasonably expect to be safe from video surveillance, whether such places are private property or not. The law also mentions “changing or dressing rooms, bathrooms and similar places”. The content of an interception are not admissible in court.

References to Physical TSCM

The law mentions “any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire or oral communication” and “any device for observing, photographing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds”. These phrases cover all possible eavesdropping devices.

References to Cyber TSCM

The law does not specifically mention eventual means of cyber eavesdropping tools.

Criminal implications

Illegal interception of communications is a class C crime under Maine law, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Violation of the state’s privacy law is a Class D crime punishable by a jail sentence of less than one year and a $2,000 fine.

Civil implications

Anyone whose communications have been illegally intercepted, disclosed or used shall have a civil cause of action and recover actual damages, computed at the rate of $100 per day for each day of violation, as well as attorney fees and litigation costs.

Code excerpts

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 15, 710[1] – Definitions

The following words and phrases as used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, shall have the following meanings

  1. Contents” when used with respect to any wire or oral communication, means any information concerning the identity of the parties to such communication or the existence, contents, substance, purport or meaning of that communication
  2. Intercepting device” means any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire or oral communication […]

4.”Intercept” means to hear, record or aid another to hear or record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than:

  1. The sender or receiver of that communication; or
  2. A person within the range of normal unaided hearing or subnormal hearing corrected to not better than normal; or
  3. A person given prior authority by the sender or receiver.
  4. “Oral communications” means any oral communications uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.
  5. Wire communication” means any communication made in whole or in part through the use of facilities for transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable or other like connection between the point of origin and the point of reception.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 15, 710[2]. Offenses

  1. Any person […] who intentionally or knowingly intercepts, attempts to intercept or procures any other person to intercept or attempt to intercept any wire or oral communication is guilty of a Class C crime.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 15, 711[3]. Civil remedy

Any party to a conversation intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of this chapter shall have a civil cause of action against any person who intercepts, discloses or uses such communications and shall be entitled to recover from any such persons:

  1. Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages, computed at the rate of $100 per day for each day of violation; and
  2. A reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation disbursements reasonably incurred.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 15, 713[4]. Evidence

The contents of an interception are not admissible in court […]

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 17, 511[5]. Violation of privacy

  1. A person is guilty of violation of privacy if, except in the execution of a public duty or as authorized by law, that person intentionally:
  2. Commits a civil trespass on property with the intent to overhear or observe any person in a private place;
  3. Installs or uses in a private place without the consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy in that place, any device for observing, photographing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds or events in that place;
  4. Installs or uses outside a private place without the consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy therein, any device for hearing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds originating in that place that would not ordinarily be audible or comprehensible outside that place; or
  5. Engages in visual surveillance in a public place by means of mechanical or electronic equipment with the intent to observe or photograph, or record, amplify or broadcast an image of any portion of the body of another person present in that place when that portion of the body is in fact concealed from public view under clothing and a reasonable person would expect it to be safe from surveillance.
  6. As used in this section, “private place” means a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance, including, but not limited to, changing or dressing rooms, bathrooms and similar places.
  7. Violation of privacy is a Class D crime.

 

 

[1] Source: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/15/title15sec709.html

[2] Source: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/15/title15sec710.html

[3] Source: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/15/title15sec711.html

[4] Source: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/15/title15sec713.html

[5] Source: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/17-A/title17-Asec511.html