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

Wisconsin

Current status

Wisconsin has a statute regulating interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications. Additionally, Wisconsin has a statute addressing Invasion of privacy, with emphasis on sexual motivation.

Impact of law

An individual who is a party to a private oral, wired or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record the communication. Private conversations refer to conversations held in circumstances that justify reasonable expectation of privacy. Regarding electronic or wired communication, the expectation of privacy is implicit.

The invasion of privacy law addresses trespassing, peeping, installing surveillance devices in private places and other intrusions, but only with the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

References to Physical TSCM

The law defines the term “intercept” as the acquisition of the contents of communication “through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device”. This is an open perspective, based on which we can assume that it was the lawmaker’s intention to openly cover all possible such devices.

References to Cyber TSCM

Electronic communications under Wisconsin law implies any device that can be used to intercept such communication.

Criminal implications

Whoever violates Wisconsin interception statute is guilty of a Class H felony. Whoever violates the state’s invasion of privacy statute is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor

Civil implications

Any person whose wire, oral or electronic communication is intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state law’s provisions, is entitled to recover from the perpetrator damages of up to $100 for each day of violation, with a minimum set amount of $1,000, punitive damages plus a reasonable attorney’s fee and other litigation costs.

Code excerpts

Wis. Stat. Ann. 968.3[1] Interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications prohibited

(1) […] whoever commits any of the acts enumerated in this section is guilty of a Class H felony:

(a) Intentionally intercepts, attempts to intercept or procures any other person to intercept or attempt to intercept, any wire, electronic or oral communication.

(b) Intentionally uses, attempts to use or procures any other person to use or attempt to use any electronic, mechanical or other device to intercept any oral communication.

(c) Discloses, or attempts to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication in violation of this section or under circumstances constituting violation of this section.

(d) Uses, or attempts to use, the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication in violation of this section or under circumstances constituting violation of this section.

(2) It is not unlawful:

(c) For a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication where the person is a party to the communication or where one 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 any state or for the purpose of committing any other injurious act.

(2m) Any person whose wire, electronic or oral communication is intercepted, disclosed or used unlawfully 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, the communication, and shall be entitled to recover from any such person:

(a) Actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is higher;

(b) Punitive damages; and

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

Wis. Stat. Ann. 942.08[2] – Invasion of privacy.

(2) Whoever does any of the following is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor:

(a) Knowingly installs a surveillance device in any private place, or uses a surveillance device that has been installed in a private place, with the intent to observe any nude or partially nude person without the consent of the person observed.

(b) For the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification and without the consent of each person who is present in the private place, looks into a private place that is, or is part of, a public accommodation, and in which a person may reasonably be expected to be nude or partially nude.

(c) For the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, looks into a private place that is, or is part of, a public accommodation, and in which a person may reasonably be expected to be nude or partially nude but in which no person is present.

(d) Enters another person’s private property without that person’s consent or enters an enclosed or unenclosed common area of a multi-unit dwelling or condominium and looks into any individual’s dwelling unit if all of the following apply:

  1. The actor looks into the dwelling unit for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification and with the intent to intrude upon or interfere with an individual’s privacy.
  2. The actor looks into a part of the dwelling unit in which an individual is present.
  3. The individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in that part of the dwelling unit.
  4. The individual does not consent to the actor looking into that part of the dwelling.

 

 

[1] Source: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/968/31

[2] Source: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/942/08