Appendix E

Text of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), discussed in Chapter 7, is actually a combination of three different provisions. Title I, known as the Wiretap Act, restricts interception of communications while in transit. Title II, known as the Stored Communications Act, restricts the disclosure of communications contents that are stored on a server or in the cloud. Title III, known as the Pen Register Statute, limits the government's ability to obtain non-content communications data (e.g., a list of phone numbers dialed or the to/from lines of email messages).

Title I, Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. 2510–2522

§2510. Definitions

As used in this chapter –

  1. “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) furnished or operated by any person engaged in providing or operating such facilities for the transmission of interstate or foreign communications or communications affecting interstate or foreign commerce;
  2. “oral communication” means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation, but such term does not include any electronic communication; ...

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