Is Eavesdropping Legal

12/12/2008 - Category:Civil Rights - Privacy - State: NY #14794

Full Question:

Is it legal for someone to eavesdrop outside of apartment doors?

Answer:

The federal and state statutes that govern eavesdropping require interception of a conversation. The "interception" of a "private communication" is not merely listening to a private communication but includes the means used to "acquire" the "private communication". “Intercept” means to acquire the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device. If the landlord is intercepting a private conversation, the federal law provides an exemption if done under the with the terms of a court order, statutory authorization, or certification under federal wiretapping law.

The following are NY statutes:

§ 250.00 Penal. Eavesdropping; definitions of terms.

The following definitions are applicable to this article:

1. "Wiretapping" means the intentional overhearing or recording of a telephonic or telegraphic communication by a person other than a sender or receiver thereof, without the consent of either the sender or receiver, by means of any instrument, device or equipment. The normal operation of a telephone or telegraph corporation and the normal use of the services and facilities furnished by such corporation pursuant to its tariffs or necessary to protect the rights or property of said corporation shall not be deemed "wiretapping."
2. "Mechanical overhearing of a conversation" means the intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation or discussion, without the consent of at least one party thereto, by a person not present thereat, by means of any instrument, device or equipment.
3. "Telephonic 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) furnished or operated by any person engaged in providing or operating such facilities for the transmission of communications and such term includes any electronic storage of such communications.
4. "Aural transfer" means a transfer containing the human voice at any point between and including the point of origin and the point of reception.
5. "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, photoelectronic or photo-optical system, but does not include:
(a) any telephonic or telegraphic communication; or
(b) any communication made through a tone only paging device; or
(c) any communication made through a tracking device consisting of an electronic or mechanical device which permits the tracking of the movement of a person or object; or
(d) any communication that is disseminated by the sender through a method of transmission that is configured so that such communication is readily accessible to the general public.
6. "Intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication" and "intentionally intercepted or accessed" mean the intentional acquiring, receiving, collecting, overhearing, or recording of an electronic communication, without the consent of the sender or intended receiver thereof, by means of any instrument, device or equipment, except when used by a telephone company in the ordinary course of its business or when necessary to protect the rights or property of such company.
7. "Electronic communication service" means any service which provides to users thereof the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications.
8. "Unlawfully" means not specifically authorized pursuant to article seven hundred or seven hundred five of the criminal procedure law for the purposes of this section and sections 250.05, 250.10, 250.15, 250.20, 250.25, 250.30 and 250.35 of this article.

§ 250.05 Penal. Eavesdropping.

A person is guilty of eavesdropping when he unlawfully engages in wiretapping, mechanical overhearing of a conversation, or intercepting or accessing of an electronic communication.

Eavesdropping is a class E felony.

§ 250.40 Penal. Unlawful surveillance; definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to sections 250.45, 250.50, 250.55 and 250.60 of this article:

1. "Place and time when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy" means a place and time when a reasonable person would believe that he or she could fully disrobe in privacy.
2.[fn*] "Imaging device" means any mechanical, digital or electronic viewing device, camera or any other instrument capable of recording, storing or transmitting visual images that can be utilized to observe a person. [fn*] NB Effective until November 1, 2007
2.[fn*] "Imaging device" means any mechanical, digital or electronic viewing device, camera, cellular phone or any other instrument capable of recording, storing or transmitting visual images that can be utilized to observe a person. [fn*] NB Effective November 1, 2007
3. "Sexual or other intimate parts" means the human male or female genitals, pubic area or buttocks, or the female breast below the top of the nipple, and shall include such part or parts which are covered only by an undergarment.
4. "Broadcast" means electronically transmitting a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person.
5. "Disseminate" means to give, provide, lend, deliver, mail, send, forward, transfer or transmit, electronically or otherwise to another person.
6. "Publish" means to
(a) disseminate, as defined in subdivision five of this section, with the intent that such image or images be disseminated to ten or more persons; or
(b) disseminate with the intent that such images be sold by another person; or
(c) post, present, display, exhibit, circulate, advertise or allows access, electronically or otherwise, so as to make an image or images available to the public; or
(d) disseminate with the intent that an image or images be posted, presented, displayed, exhibited, circulated, advertised or made accessible, electronically or otherwise and to make such image or images available to the public.
7. "Sell" means to disseminate to another person, as defined in subdivision five of this section, or to publish, as defined in subdivision six of this section, in exchange for something of value.


Please see the information at the following links:

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00002511----000-.html
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sec_18_00002510----000-.html
http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/privacy/
http://definitions.uslegal.com/r/right-to-privacy/
http://definitions.uslegal.com/s/surveillance/
http://definitions.uslegal.com/w/wiretapping/
http://lawdigest.uslegal.com/real-estate-laws/landlord-tenant-rights/

Please see the forms at the following links:

http://www.uslegalforms.com/landlordtenant/new-york-landlord-tenant-forms.htm

12/12/2008 - Category: Privacy - State: NY #14794

See more Questions in the Privacy Category