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

Mississippi

Current status

Mississippi is a “one party consent” state and the communication interception statute bars the interception, use or disclosure of any oral, telephonic or other communication by means of any mechanical or electronic device without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. The state also has a hidden camera status, that prohibits the recording and disclosure of images of other persons without their consent, under certain conditions.

Impact of law

A person can lawfully record an oral communication to which that person is participating or has received prior consent from at least one party. The same requirements apply to wire and “other communications”, which we can assert that also includes electronic communication.

The section which addresses recording another person without permission is based on the premise of lewd, licentious or indecent intent. It is thus unlawful to secretly produce any images of another person without that person’s consent, while in an area where there is reasonable expectation of privacy.

References to Physical TSCM

The law clearly mentions the use of an electronic, mechanical or other device. Wire communication is defined as also including cordless telephones, voice pagers, cellular telephones, any mobile telephone. The hidden camera law references devices that reproduce the image of another person. We conclude that the Mississippi law covers a broad range of technical surveillance and interception devices available.

References to Cyber TSCM

The Mississippi law specifically addresses ”oral, wire and other communication,” and further defines wire communication as also including “any communication conducted through the facilities of a provider of communication services”. We assert that it is the lawmaker’s intention to include electronic and digital communication, and consequently, cyber means of intercepting such communications.

Criminal implications

Violations of the intercepting statute are misdemeanors, with sentences of up to one year and fines of up to $10,000. Disclosing the contents of illegally intercepted communications is a felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.

Violations of the state’s hidden camera law are felonies and carry penalties of up to five years imprisonment and $5,000 fines.

Civil implications

Anyone whose communications were intercepted, disclosed or used unlawfully can have a civil suit and recover from the person conducting the interception actual damages of either $100 per day for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs.

Code excerpts

MS Code 41-29-501[1] – Definitions

“Contents,” when used with respect to a wire, oral or other communication, includes any information concerning the identity of the parties to the communication or the existence, substance, purport or meaning of that communication.

(g) “Intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of a wire, oral or other communication through the use of an electronic, mechanical or other device.

(k) “Other communication” means any transfer of an electronic or other signal, including fax signals, computer generated signals, other similar signals, or any scrambled or encrypted signal transferred via wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system from one party to another in which the involved parties may reasonably expect the communication to be private.

(n) “Wire communication” […] includes cordless telephones, voice pagers, cellular telephones, any mobile telephone, or any communication conducted through the facilities of a provider of communication services.

41-29-533[2] – Penalties for violations of this article

(1) Any person who knowingly and intentionally possesses, installs, operates or monitors an electronic, mechanical or other device in violation of this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to not more than one (1) year in the county jail or fined not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or both.

41-29-531[3] – Exceptions to civil liability for violation of this article

This article shall not apply to:

(e) A person not acting under color of law who intercepts a wire, oral or other communication if the person is a party to the communication, or if one (1) of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception unless the communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of this state, or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.

MS Code 41-29-503[4] – Evidence

The contents of an intercepted wire, oral or other communication and evidence derived from an intercepted wire, oral or other communication may not be received in evidence in any trial

MS Code 41-29-529[5] – Civil action for violation of this article

(1) A person whose wire, oral or other communication is intercepted, disclosed or used […] is entitled to recover from the person:

(a) Actual damages but not less than liquidated damages computed at a rate of One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) a day for each day of violation or One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00), whichever is higher;

(b) Punitive damages; and

(c) A reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs reasonably incurred.

MS Code 97-29-63[6] – Photographing or filming another without permission where there is expectation of privacy;

(1) Any person who with lewd, licentious or indecent intent secretly photographs, films, videotapes, records or otherwise reproduces the image of another person without the permission of such person when such a person is located in a place where a person would intend to be in a state of undress and have a reasonable expectation of privacy, including, but not limited to, private dwellings or any facility, public or private, used as a restroom, bathroom, shower room, tanning booth, locker room, fitting room, dressing room or bedroom shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of Five Thousand Dollars ($ 5,000.00) or by imprisonment of not more than five (5) years in the custody of the Department of Corrections, or both.

 

 

[1] Source:

http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-41/chapter-29/article-7/section-41-29-501/

[2] Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-41/chapter-29/article-7/section-41-29-533/

[3] Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-41/chapter-29/article-7/section-41-29-531/

[4] Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-41/chapter-29/article-7/section-41-29-503/

[5] Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-41/chapter-29/article-7/section-41-29-529/

[6] Source: http://law.justia.com/codes/mississippi/2013/title-97/chapter-29/in-general/section-97-29-63