An Act To Protect Cellular Telephone Privacy
Sec. 1. 16 MRSA c. 3, sub-c. 10 is enacted to read:
PORTABLE ELECTRONIC DEVICE CONTENT INFORMATION
§ 641. Definitions
As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 642. Release of an acquisition of content information
A provider of electronic communication service may not release portable electronic device content information to a government entity except as provided in this subchapter.
Except as provided in this subchapter, a government entity may not obtain portable electronic device content information without a valid warrant issued by a duly authorized judge or justice using procedures established pursuant to Title 15, section 55.
§ 643. Notice
Notice must be given to the owner or user of a portable electronic device whose content information was obtained by a government entity.
§ 644. Consent of owner or user
When disclosure of portable electronic device content information is not prohibited by federal law, a government entity may obtain the information without a warrant with the informed, affirmative consent of the owner or user of the portable electronic device concerned.
§ 645. Designated law enforcement officer
On a case-by-case basis and in accordance with this section, the Attorney General may designate an investigative or law enforcement officer who may acquire portable electronic device content information before obtaining a warrant.
§ 646. Reporting requirements
The Administrative Office of the Courts may prescribe the content and form of the reports under this section.
§ 647. Conditions of use of content information
§ 648. Violations; private actions; enforcement
This bill enacts provisions governing the disclosure of information regarding the content of communications conveyed using portable electronic devices such as cellular telephones. This bill prohibits a government entity from obtaining information concerning the identities of parties to a communication, the date and time of the communication or the existence, substance, purport or meaning of the communication conveyed using a cellular telephone or other electronic device without a valid warrant, except that a government entity may obtain such information with the consent of the owner or user of the electronic device. It also authorizes the Attorney General to designate a law enforcement officer to obtain such content information without a warrant in cases in which there is an imminent threat of death or serious physical injury or a threat to national security.
This bill requires a government entity to inform the owner or user of a portable electronic device that content information was obtained from that person's device within 3 days of obtaining the information, unless the court determines there is good cause to delay this notification.
This bill also requires judges involved with granting warrants to obtain content information to report their activities regarding the warrants to the Administrative Office of the Courts annually. It directs the Administrative Office of the Courts to provide a summary of those reports to the Legislature.
This bill provides that a person damaged as a result of a violation of these provisions has a cause of action in Superior Court against the provider of electronic communication service that disclosed portable electronic device content information in violation of these provisions, and, in addition to actual damages, costs and attorney's fees, the court may award statutory damages in an amount not to exceed $5,000. The bill also provides that a person damaged as a result of a violation of these provisions has a cause of action in court against a government entity that fails to comply with these provisions, and the court may award injunctive relief. Finally, the bill authorizes the Attorney General to enforce these provisions.