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Laws

Legislative History / Wiretap Act

"Congress did not play an active or effective role in surveillance policy until 1968. Prior to that time, the only legislation affecting official use of surveillance technology was unintended. In 1934, Congress remodified the Radio Act of 1927 as the Communications Act. Section 605 of the 1934 Act provided that “No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any communication and divulge . . . the contents. ” There was no specific legislative history for this section and it appears that the 1934 bill was not intended to change existing law. (See: S. Rep. No. 781, 73 Cong., 2d sess. 11 (1934)) This was the interpretation until 1938 when the Supreme Court, in Nardone v. United States, 302 U.S. 379, ruled that Section 605 prohibited all telephone wiretapping, even when done by Federal Government officers. In response, bills passed both houses of Congress allowing wiretapping under certain circumstances and with certain procedural requirements. But the session ended before the conference committee could resolve a difference between the two bills-the House bill explicitly criminalized unauthorized official surveillance. S. Rep. No. 1790, 75th Cong., 3d sess. 3 (1938), reprinted in 1914-59 Leg. Hist. 961. "Despite Congress’s failure to overrule Nardone by legislation, wiretapping continued because the Justice Department construed Section 605 as not prohibiting wiretapping itself, but only the interception and subsequent divulgence outside the Federal establishment. Additionally, the President issued an Executive order to allow wiretapping for national security purposes. "In the immediate post-war period, numerous bills authorizing electronic surveillance were introduced, but none was enacted into law. Starting in 1960, electronic surveillance became a major public issue and congressional activity became more focused and purposeful. The target was organized crime, a major priority of the Kennedy Administration. "The first major congressional action regarding surveillance was Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968." ECPA Replaces Sec. 605

Caselaw

Proceedings

Workshops

PUBLIC NOTICE
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 0500
445 12th St., S.W.
Comments Due: July 8, 2011
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
Washington, D.C. 20554
1-888-835-5322
DA 11-857
Released: May 17, 2011
FCC STAFF TO HOST FORUM AIMED AT HELPING CONSUMERS
NAVIGATE LOCATION-BASED SERVICES
WT Docket No. 11-84
Forum Date: June 28, 2011

Govt Activity

Timeline

Papers

News

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