Dealt with wire and electronic communications interceptions in the United States. A violation was punishable by fine, imprisonment for up to five years, or both. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) amended the Wiretap Act of 1968 and prohibited certain access, use, and distribution of wire and electronic communications.
The ECPA applied to businesses, private citizens, and government agencies. It provided enhanced protections against access and disclosure of electronically stored communications, primarily email. Although the ECPA did not specifically cite email as a form of electronically stored communications, U.S. courts have held email to be included in the Act. As a result of the ECPA, employers have become increasingly concerned about authorization issues surrounding email. Though many people may not know this, it is because of the ECPA that telephone callers to companies are often given the initial warning that “this telephone call may be monitored for purposes of quality control.”
See Also: Electronic Mail or Email.
Hogge, Jr. An Introduction for Virginia Employers to The Federal Wiretapping Act and The Electronic Communications Privacy Act or “Why They Tell You This Call May Be Monitored For Quality Control Purposes.” [Online, January, 2001.] Virginia Labor Law Website. http://www.virginialaborlaw.com/library/e-law/outline-wiretapandecpa2001- 01-24.pdf.