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Summary of HR 5018 (106th Congress)
Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000

This page was last revised on September 27, 2000.

Sponsor. Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL). Cosponsors. Reps. Asa Hutchinson (R-AK), Spencer Bachus (R-AL), and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO).

Summary. There are already several versions of HR 5018, even though it was only introduced just before the August recess. There is HR 5018 IH (the bill as originally introduced); there is the version that came out of the Constitution Subcommittee; there is an amendment offered by Rep. Canady on September 20 that would add considerable language to the subcommittee version; and there is the version adopted by the Judiciary Committee on September 26.

 
18 U.S.C. 2515.

Current Law.

Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or oral communications

Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter.

HR 5018 IH.

Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or oral communications

Whenever any wire or oral communication wire, oral, or electronic communication has been intercepted or any stored electronic communication has been disclosed, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter or chapter 121.

HR 5018, Subcommittee version.

Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or electronic communication wire, oral, or electronic communication

Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted "(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whenever any wire, oral, or electronic communication has been intercepted, or any electronic communication in electronic storage has been disclosed, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter or chapter 121.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to the disclosure, before a grand jury or in a criminal trial, hearing, or other criminal proceeding, of the contents of a communication, or evidence derived therefrom, against a person alleged to have intercepted, used, or disclosed the communication in violation of this chapter, or chapter 121, or participated in such violation.

HR 5018, Subcommittee version, with Canady amendment of 9/20/00.

Prohibition of use as evidence of intercepted wire or electronic communication wire, oral, or electronic communication

Whenever any wire or oral communication has been intercepted "(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), whenever any wire, oral, or electronic communication has been intercepted, or any electronic communication in electronic storage has been disclosed, no part of the contents of such communication and no evidence derived therefrom may be received in evidence in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, officer, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or a political subdivision thereof if the disclosure of that information would be in violation of this chapter or chapter 121.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to the disclosure, before a grand jury or in a criminal trial, hearing, or other criminal proceeding, of the contents of a communication, or evidence derived therefrom, against a person alleged to have intercepted, used, or disclosed the communication in violation of this chapter, or chapter 121, or participated in such violation.

HR 5018 IH is a short bill which does three things. First, it would amend 18 U.S.C. 2515. This is a section of Chapter 119 of the criminal code (which pertains to wire and electronic communications interception and interception of oral communications). 2515 currently prohibits the use of intercepted wire communications in evidence, that are prohibited under Chapter 119. HR 5018 IH would add the word "electronic" and further cover any stored electronic communication that has been disclosed. Note that "stored electronic communication" is legalese for email.

Second, HR 5018 IH would require judges to make certain reports to the Administrative Office (AO) of the United States Courts regarding "disclosure of stored electronic communications", and further require the AO to make annual reports to the Congress.

Third, it would require that pen register and trap and trace orders shall not be issued for e-mail addresses, "unless the court finds that specific and articulable facts reasonably indicate that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed, and information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an investigation of that crime ..."

HR 5018, as reported by the Constitution Subcommittee, is the original bill, with an amendment offered by Rep. Canady, and an amendment offered by Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA). The Barr amendment prohibits the government from using cell phones as tracking devices without probable cause. The Canady amendment contains numerous changes. See, Canady statement explaining his amendment.

Finally, there is the matter of Rep. Canady's amendment of September 20, which adds considerable language to the version reported by the Subcommittee. In particular it would add lengthy provisions regarding computer crimes.

Status. HR 5018 was introduced on July 27, 2000, and referred to the House Judiciary Committee and its Constitution Subcommittee. It moved quickly to subcommittee markup on September 14. The full committee began its markup on September 20. The full committee approved on September 26. While many members would like to see an electronic privacy bill passed in the 106th Congress, the issues are complex, the disagreements are many, and the remaining time in the 106th Congress is short. It is likely that this is just the beginning of a long legislative process that will continue well into the 107th Congress.

Legislative History with Links to Related Materials:

   


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