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1990 Minnesota Session Laws

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                         Laws of Minnesota 1990 

                        CHAPTER 455-S.F.No. 2061 
           An act relating to privacy of communications; 
          including cordless telephones in the privacy of 
          communications act; amending Minnesota Statutes 1988, 
          sections 626A.01, subdivisions 3 and 14; and 626A.02, 
          subdivisions 2 and 4.  
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:  
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 626A.01, 
subdivision 3, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 3.  [WIRE COMMUNICATIONS.] "Wire communication" means 
any aural transfer 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, including the use of such 
connection in a switching station.  "Wire communication" 
includes any electronic storage of the communication, but does 
not include the radio portion of a cordless telephone 
communication that is transmitted between the cordless telephone 
handset and the base unit.  
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 626A.01, 
subdivision 14, is amended to read:  
    Subd. 14.  [ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION.] "Electronic 
communication" means transfer of signs, signals, writing, 
images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted 
in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, 
photoelectronic, or photooptical system but does not include:  
    (1) the radio portion of a cordless telephone communication 
that is transmitted between the cordless telephone handset and 
the base unit; 
    (2) a wire or oral communication; 
    (3) (2) a communication made through a tone-only paging 
device; or 
    (4) (3) a communication from a tracking device, defined as 
an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of 
the movement of a person or object. 
     Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 626A.02, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [EXEMPTIONS.] (a) It is not unlawful under 
sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 for an operator of a switchboard, or 
an officer, employee, or agent of a provider of wire or 
electronic communication service, whose facilities are used in 
the transmission of a wire communication, to intercept, 
disclose, or use that communication in the normal course of 
employment while engaged in any activity which is a necessary 
incident to the rendition of service or to the protection of the 
rights or property of the provider of that service, except that 
a provider of wire communication service to the public shall not 
utilize service observing or random monitoring except for 
mechanical or service quality control checks.  
    (b) It is not unlawful under sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 
for an officer, employee, or agent of the Federal Communications 
Commission, in the normal course of employment and in discharge 
of the monitoring responsibilities exercised by the commission 
in the enforcement of chapter 5 of title 47 of the United States 
Code, to intercept a wire or electronic communication, or oral 
communication transmitted by radio, or to disclose or use the 
information thereby obtained.  
    (c) It is not unlawful under sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 
for a person 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.  
     (d) It is not unlawful under sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 
for 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 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 in violation of the 
constitution or laws of the United States or of any state.  
     (e) It is not a violation of sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 or 
sections 626A.26 to 626A.34 for a person:  
     (1) to intercept or access an electronic communication made 
through an electronic communication system that is configured so 
that the electronic communication is readily accessible to the 
general public; 
     (2) to intercept any radio communication that is 
transmitted:  
     (i) by a station for the use of the general public, or that 
relates to ships, aircraft, vehicles, or persons in distress; 
     (ii) by a governmental, law enforcement, civil defense, 
private land mobile, or public safety communications system, 
including police and fire, readily accessible to the general 
public; 
     (iii) by a station operating on an authorized frequency 
within the bands allocated to the amateur, citizens band, or 
general mobile radio services; or 
     (iv) by a marine or aeronautical communications system; 
     (3) to engage in any conduct which:  
     (i) is prohibited by section 553 of title 47 of the United 
States Code; or 
     (ii) is excepted from the application of section 605(a) of 
title 47 of the United States Code by section 605(b) of that 
title; 
    (4) to intercept a wire or electronic communication the 
transmission of which is causing harmful interference to any 
lawfully operating station or consumer electronic equipment, to 
the extent necessary to identify the source of such 
interference; or 
    (5) for other users of the same frequency to intercept any 
radio communication made through a system that utilizes 
frequencies monitored by individuals engaged in the provision or 
the use of such system, if the communication is not scrambled or 
encrypted. 
    (f) It is not unlawful under sections 626A.01 to 626A.23:  
    (1) to use a pen register or a trap and trace device as 
those terms are defined by section 626A.39; or 
    (2) for a provider of electronic communication service to 
record the fact that a wire or electronic communication was 
initiated or completed in order to protect the provider, another 
provider furnishing service toward the completion of the wire or 
electronic communication, or a user of that service, from 
fraudulent, unlawful, or abusive use of the service. 
    (g) It is not unlawful under sections 626A.01 to 626A.23 
for a person not acting under color of law to intercept the 
radio portion of a cordless telephone communication that is 
transmitted between the cordless telephone handset and the base 
unit if the initial interception of the communication was 
obtained inadvertently. 
    Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1988, section 626A.02, 
subdivision 4, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 4.  [PENALTIES.] (a) Except as provided in paragraph 
(b) or in subdivision 5, whoever violates subdivision 1 shall be 
fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned not more than five 
years, or both. 
    (b) If the offense is a first offense under paragraph (a) 
and is not for a tortious or illegal purpose or for purposes of 
direct or indirect commercial advantage or private commercial 
gain, and the wire or electronic communication with respect to 
which the offense under paragraph (a) is a radio communication 
that is not scrambled or encrypted, then: 
    (1) if the communication is not the radio portion of a 
cellular telephone communication, a public land mobile radio 
service communication, a cordless telephone communication 
transmitted between the cordless telephone handset and the base 
unit, or a paging service communication, and the conduct is not 
that described in subdivision 5, the offender shall be fined not 
more than $3,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; 
and 
    (2) if the communication is the radio portion of a cellular 
telephone communication, a public land mobile radio service 
communication, a cordless telephone communication transmitted 
between the cordless telephone handset and the base unit, or a 
paging service communication, the offender shall be fined not 
more than $500. 
    (c) Conduct otherwise an offense under this subdivision 
that consists of or relates to the interception of a satellite 
transmission that is not encrypted or scrambled and that is 
transmitted: 
    (1) to a broadcasting station for purposes of 
retransmission to the general public; or 
    (2) as an audio subcarrier intended for redistribution to 
facilities open to the public, but not including data 
transmissions or telephone calls, 
is not an offense under this subdivision unless the conduct is 
for the purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or 
private financial gain. 
    Presented to the governor April 12, 1990 
    Signed by the governor April 16, 1990, 4:19 p.m.

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