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

Missouri

Current status

Missouri wiretapping statute is very narrowly constructed, focusing only on oral and wire communication, and having various provisions addressing these two media differently. For instance, the disclosure clause only mentions the contents of wire communications, and so is the case of the next clause that criminalized the use of such content. On the other hand, the law mentions the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept only oral communications.

Missouri is in the process of changing the wiretapping statute to hold violations to be class E felonies starting Jan. 2017, as opposed to class D felonies, until Dec. 2016.

With regard to unauthorized surveillance of other persons, the state invasion of privacy statute only addresses unlawful recording of other persons in a voyeurism context, when there is reasonable expectation of nudity.

Impact of law

The law holds lawful for a person to intercept a wire communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent. It is unclear whether this provision also applies to oral communications.

The text of law is inconsistent, therefore we believe that the debate on this subject in Missouri is also constructed on previous court deliberations.

References to Physical TSCM

The law mentions the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device able to intercept any oral communication. There are also mentions of photographing, filming, videotaping as actions, which are reasonable to believe are conducted through the use of devices

References to Cyber TSCM

No reference.

Criminal implications

Violation of the wiretapping statute is a class E felony offense. Invasion of privacy is either class A misdemeanor or class D felony, depending on the context of the violation.

Civil implications

Any person whose wire communication has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the present law can bring a civil suit and recover from the perpetrator the greater of actual damages of minimum $10,000, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs.

Code excerpts

Beginning January 1, 2017-Penalty for illegal wiretapping, permitted activities.

Mo. Ann. Stat. 542.402. 1.[1] Except as otherwise specifically provided in sections 542.400 to 542.422, a person is guilty of a class E felony and upon conviction shall be punished as provided by law, if such person:

(1) Knowingly intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire communication;

(2) Knowingly uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when such device transmits communications by radio or interferes with the transmission of such communication […]

(3) Knowingly discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire communication, when he knows or has reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire communication in violation of this subsection; or

(4) Knowingly uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire communication, when he knows or has reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire communication in violation of this subsection.

  1. It is not unlawful under the provisions of sections 542.400 to 542.422:

(3) For a person not acting under law to intercept a wire 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 unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act.

Mo. Ann. Stat. 542.400[2]. Definitions

(8) “Oral communication“, any communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation;

(12) “Wire communication“, any communication made in whole or in part through the use of facilities for the transmission of communications by the aid of wire, cable, or other like connection between the point of origin and the point of reception […]

Until December 31, 2016 – Penalty for illegal wiretapping, permitted activities.

Mo. Ann. Stat. 542.402. 1.[3] Except as otherwise specifically provided in sections 542.400 to 542.422, a person is guilty of a class D felony […]

Beginning January 1, 2017–Invasion of privacy, penalty.

Mo. Ann. Stat. 565.252. 1.[4] A person commits the offense of invasion of privacy if he or she knowingly:

(1) Photographs, films, videotapes, produces, or otherwise creates an image of another person, without the person’s consent, while the person is in a state of full or partial nudity and is in a place where one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy; or

(2) Photographs, films, videotapes, produces, or otherwise creates an image of another person under or through the clothing worn by that other person for the purpose of viewing the body of or the undergarments worn by that other person without that person’s consent.

  1. Invasion of privacy is a class A misdemeanor unless:

(1) A person who creates an image in violation of this section distributes the image to another or transmits the image in a manner that allows access to that image via computer;

(2) A person disseminates or permits the dissemination by any means, to another person, of a videotape, photograph, or film obtained in violation of this section;

(3) More than one person is viewed, photographed, filmed or videotaped during the same course of conduct; or

(4) The offense was committed by a person who has previously been found guilty of invasion of privacy

in which case invasion of privacy is a class E felony.

Until December 31, 2016–Crime of invasion of privacy, second degree, penalties.

Mo. Ann. Stat. 565.253. 1.[5] A person commits the crime of invasion of privacy in the second degree if:

(1) Such person knowingly views, photographs or films another person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, while the person being viewed, photographed or filmed is in a state of full or partial nudity and is in a place where one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy; or

(2) Such person knowingly uses a concealed camcorder or photographic camera of any type to secretly videotape, photograph, or record by electronic means another person under or through the clothing worn by that other person for the purpose of viewing the body of or the undergarments worn by that other person without that person’s consent.

  1. Invasion of privacy in the second degree pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section is a class A misdemeanor; unless more than one person is viewed, photographed or filmed […] during the same course of conduct, in which case invasion of privacy is a class D felony;

Mo. Ann. Stat. 542.418. 1.[6] The contents of any wire communication or evidence derived therefrom shall not be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any civil or administrative proceeding, except in civil actions brought pursuant to this section.

  1. Any person whose wire communication is intercepted, disclosed, or used in violation of sections 542.400 to 542.422 shall:

(1) 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

(2) Be entitled to recover from any such person:

(a) Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of one hundred dollars a day for each day of violation or ten thousand dollars whichever is greater;

(b) Punitive damages on a showing of a willful or intentional violation of sections.

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

 

 

[1] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/54200004021.html

[2] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/54200004001.html

[3] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/54200004022.html

[4] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/56500002521.HTML

[5] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/56500002532.html?&me=565.253

[6] Source: http://www.moga.mo.gov/mostatutes/stathtml/54200004181.html