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

New Jersey

Current status

The New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act addresses interception, disclosure and use of wire, electronic and oral communication and holds provisions that make New Jersey a “one party consent” state.

The Invasion of privacy statute addresses the observation, recording and disclosing of other persons under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed, with emphasis on nudity and sexual context.

Impact of law

The wiretapping and invasion of privacy statutes both rely upon reasonable expectation of privacy to define circumstances in which the interception actions are unlawful. In the case of oral communication, there is a specific mention of the expectation that such communication is not subject to interception. However, the expectation of privacy seems to be implicit in the case of wire and electronic communication.

As for invasion of privacy, the reasonable expectation premise is double used, to determine circumstances in which a reasonable person would know that another may expose intimate parts or may engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact, and in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.

References to Physical TSCM

Specific devices are not mentioned in the text of law, but we can use the definitions of terms to assess primary references to such devices. “Intercept” is defined as the acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device. Further, “electronic, mechanical or other device” means any device or apparatus, including an induction coil, that can be used to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication. We conclude that it is the lawmaker’s intention to keep an all-inclusive perspective with regard to interception devices.

The actions mentioned by the privacy statute also imply devices that are able to photograph, film, videotape, record, or otherwise reproduce the image of a person are subject of the law.

References to Cyber TSCM

“Electronic communication” is defined any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system and is explicitly addressed by the law. We conclude that cyber means of acquiring such transfers of intelligence are also covered by the law.

Criminal implications

Violations of the New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act are crimes of the third degrees,

Civil implications

Anyone whose wire, electronic or oral communication has been intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the wiretapping statute can claim actual damages, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs. Actual damages are computed at $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is greater.

Code excerpts

N.J. Stat. Ann. 2A:156A-1[1]. Short title

This act shall be known and may be cited as the “New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.”

N.J. Stat. Ann. 2A:156A-3[2]. Interception, disclosure, use of wire, electronic, oral communication; violation

  1. Except as otherwise specifically provided in this act, any person who:
  2. Purposely intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication; or
  3. Purposely discloses or endeavors to disclose to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or
  4. Purposely uses or endeavors to use the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know, that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication;

shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree.

N.J. Stat. Ann. 2A:156A-4[3]. Lawful interception activities; exceptions

  1. It shall not be unlawful under this act for:
  2. A person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception […].

Any person who unlawfully intercepts or uses such communication as provided in this paragraph shall be subject to the civil liability established in section 24 of P.L.1968, c.409 (C.2A:156A-24), in addition to any other criminal or civil liability imposed by law;

  1. “Intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device;
  2. “Electronic, mechanical or other device” means any device or apparatus, including an induction coil, that can be used to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication […]
  3. “Electronic communication” means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system

N.J. Stat. Ann. 2C:14-9[4]. Invasion of privacy, degree of crime; defenses, privileges

  1. a. An actor commits a crime of the fourth degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would know that another may expose intimate parts or may engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact, he observes another person without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.
  2. An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he photographs, films, videotapes, records, or otherwise reproduces in any manner, the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person’s consent and under circumstances in which a reasonable person would not expect to be observed.
  3. An actor commits a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he discloses any photograph, film, videotape, recording or any other reproduction of the image of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, unless that person has consented to such disclosure.

It is an affirmative defense to a crime under this section that:

(1) the actor posted or otherwise provided prior notice to the person of the actor’s intent to engage in the conduct specified in subsection a., b., or c., and

(2) the actor acted with a lawful purpose.

  1. (1) It shall not be a violation of subsection a. or b. to observe another person in the access way, foyer or entrance to a fitting room or dressing room operated by a retail establishment or to photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image of such person, if the actor conspicuously posts at the entrance to the fitting room or dressing room prior notice of his intent to make the observations, photographs, films, videotapes, recordings or other reproductions.
  2. It shall be a violation of subsection a. or b. to observe another person in a private dressing stall of a fitting room or dressing room operated by a retail establishment or to photograph, film, videotape, record or otherwise reproduce the image of another person in a private dressing stall of a fitting room or dressing room.

 

 

[1] Source: http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/2a-administration-of-civil-and-criminal-justice/156a-1.html

[2] Source: http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/2a-administration-of-civil-and-criminal-justice/156a-3.html

[3] Source: http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/2a-administration-of-civil-and-criminal-justice/156a-4.html

[4] Source: http://law.onecle.com/new-jersey/2c-the-new-jersey-code-of-criminal-justice/14-9.html