“Contents," when used with respect to any wire, electronic, or oral communication, includes any information concerning the substance, purport, or meaning of that communication.
“Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature wholly or partially transmitted by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic or photooptical system. “Electronic communication" does not include any of the following:
The radio portion of a cordless telephone communication that is transmitted between the cordless telephone handset and the base unit.
Any communication made through a tone-only paging device.
“Electronic communication service" means any service that provides its users with the ability to send or receive wire or electronic communications.
“Electronic communications system" means any wire, radio, electromagnetic, photooptical or photoelectronic facilities for the transmission of electronic communications, and any computer facilities or related electronic equipment for the electronic storage of those communications.
“Electronic, mechanical or other device" means any device or apparatus which can be used to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication other than:
Any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment or facilities, or any component thereof, which is:
Furnished to the subscriber or user by a provider of electronic or wire communication service in the ordinary course of its business and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business or furnished by the subscriber or user for connection to the facilities of the service and used in the ordinary course of its business; or
Being used by a provider of electronic or wire communication service in the ordinary course of its business, or by a law enforcement officer in the ordinary course of his or her duties.
A hearing aid or similar device being used to correct subnormal hearing to not better than normal.
“Electronic storage" means any of the following:
Any temporary, intermediate storage of a wire or electronic communication incidental to the electronic transmission thereof.
Any storage of a wire or electronic communication by an electronic communication service for purposes of backup protection of the communication.
“Intercept" means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical or other device.
“Investigative or law enforcement officer" means any officer of this state or political subdivision thereof, who is empowered by the laws of this state to conduct investigations of or to make arrests for violations of the laws that he or she is employed to enforce, and any attorney authorized by law to prosecute or participate in the prosecution of those offenses.
“Judge" means the judge sitting at the time an application is made under s. 968.30
or his or her successor.
“Oral communication" means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that the communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying the expectation. “Oral communication" does not include any electronic communication.
“Pen register" means a device that records or decodes electronic or other impulses that identify the numbers dialed or otherwise transmitted on the telephone line to which the device is attached. “Pen register" does not include any device used by a provider or customer of a wire or electronic communication service for billing, or recording as an incident to billing, for communications services provided by the provider or any device used by a provider or customer of a wire communication service for cost accounting or other like purposes in the ordinary course of its business.
“Readily accessible to the general public" means, with respect to a radio communication, that the communication is not any of the following:
Transmitted using modulation techniques whose essential parameters have been withheld from the public with the intention of preserving the privacy of the communication.
Carried on a subcarrier or other signal subsidiary to a radio transmission.
Transmitted over a communication system provided by a common carrier, including a commercial mobile radio service provider, as defined in s. 196.01 (2g)
, unless the communication is a tone-only paging system communication.
Transmitted on frequencies allocated under 47 CFR part 25
, subpart D, E or F of part 74, or part 94, unless in the case of a communication transmitted on a frequency allocated under 47 CFR part 74
that is not exclusively allocated to broadcast auxiliary services, the communication is a 2-way voice communication by radio.
“Remote computing service" means computer storage or processing that is provided to the public by means of an electronic communications system.
“Trap and trace device" means a device that captures the incoming electronic or other impulses that identify the originating number of an instrument or device from which a wire or electronic communication was transmitted.
“User" means any person who or entity that:
Is duly authorized by the provider of the service to engage in that use.
“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 the connection in any switching station, furnished or operated by any person in providing or operating the facilities for the transmission of intrastate, interstate or foreign communications. “Wire communication" includes the electronic storage of any such aural transfer.
The constitutionality of ss. 968.27 to 968.30 is upheld. State ex rel. Hussong v. Froelich, 62 Wis. 2d 577
, 215 N.W.2d 390
An informant who is party to a tape recorded telephone conversation also acquired the conversation in his mind, regardless of the use of tape recorder; that acquisition is not an “intercept." The informant may testify to the conversation without use of the recording. State v. Maloney, 161 Wis. 2d 127
, 467 N.W.2d 215
(Ct. App. 1991).
An “oral communication" under sub. (12) is a statement uttered under circumstances in which the speaker has a reasonable expectation of privacy. An individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy when he or she has both an actual subjective expectation of privacy in the speech, and a subjective expectation that is one that society is willing to recognize as reasonable, which requires examination of the totality of the circumstances. State v. Duchow, 2008 WI 57
, 310 Wis. 2d 1
, 749 N.W.2d 913
Courts have identified a non-exclusive list of factors to discern whether an individual's expectation of privacy in his or her oral statements is objectively reasonable, including: 1) the volume of the statements; 2) the proximity of other individuals to the speaker; 3) the potential for the communications to be reported; 4) the actions taken by the speaker to ensure his or her privacy; 5) the need to employ technological enhancements for one to hear the speaker's statements; and 6) the place or location where the statements are made. State v. Duchow, 2008 WI 57
, 310 Wis. 2d 1
, 749 N.W.2d 913
That a global positioning system (GPS) tracking device did not emit any signal but rather received signals and stored data that could be retrieved later did not take it outside the meaning of a tracking device under sub. (4) (d). It is not rational to limit the admission of tracking information based on whether it is obtained in real time by a signal or at a later time by direct access to the device. State v. Sveum, 2009 WI App 81
, 319 Wis. 2d 498
, 769 N.W.2d 53
Application for court order to intercept communications.
The attorney general together with the district attorney of any county may approve a request of an investigative or law enforcement officer to apply to the chief judge of the judicial administrative district for the county where the interception is to take place for an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire, electronic or oral communications. The chief judge may under s. 968.30
grant an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire, electronic or oral communications by investigative or law enforcement officers having responsibility for the investigation of the offense for which the application is made. The authorization shall be permitted only if the interception may provide or has provided evidence of the commission of the offense of homicide, felony murder, kidnapping, commercial gambling, bribery, extortion, dealing in controlled substances or controlled substance analogs, a computer crime that is a felony under s. 943.70
, sexual exploitation of a child under s. 948.05
, trafficking of a child under s. 948.051
, child enticement under s. 948.07
, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime under s. 948.075
, or soliciting a child for prostitution under s. 948.08
, or any conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses.
The authorization of a wiretap for offenses not enumerated in this section did not warrant suppression of the evidence obtained from the wiretap when the order included both enumerated and non-enumerated offenses and contained sufficient probable cause for the enumerated offenses, the evidence obtained by wiretap was for enumerated offenses, and charges were brought only for enumerated offenses. State v. House, 2007 WI 79
, 302 Wis. 2d 1
, 734 N.W.2d 140
Authorization for disclosure and use of intercepted wire, electronic or oral communications. 968.29(1)(1)
Any investigative or law enforcement officer who, by any means authorized by ss. 968.28
or 18 USC 2510
, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, may disclose the contents to another investigative or law enforcement officer only to the extent that the disclosure is appropriate to the proper performance of the official duties of the officer making or receiving the disclosure.
Any investigative or law enforcement officer who, by any means authorized by ss. 968.28
or 18 USC 2510
, has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom may use the contents only to the extent the use is appropriate to the proper performance of the officer's official duties.
Any person who has received, by any means authorized by ss. 968.28
or 18 USC 2510
or by a like statute of any other state, any information concerning a wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom intercepted in accordance with ss. 968.28
, may disclose the contents of that communication or that derivative evidence only while giving testimony under oath or affirmation in any proceeding in any court or before any magistrate or grand jury in this state, or in any court of the United States or of any state, or in any federal or state grand jury proceeding.
In addition to the disclosure provisions of par. (a)
, any person who has received, in the manner described under s. 968.31 (2) (b)
, any information concerning a wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom, may disclose the contents of that communication or that derivative evidence while giving testimony under oath or affirmation in any proceeding described in par. (a)
in which a person is accused of any act constituting a felony, and only if the party who consented to the interception is available to testify at the proceeding or if another witness is available to authenticate the recording.
No otherwise privileged wire, electronic or oral communication intercepted in accordance with, or in violation of, ss. 968.28
or 18 USC 2510
, may lose its privileged character.
When an investigative or law enforcement officer, while engaged in intercepting wire, electronic or oral communications in the manner authorized, intercepts wire, electronic or oral communications relating to offenses other than those specified in the order of authorization or approval, the contents thereof, and evidence derived therefrom, may be disclosed or used as provided in subs. (1)
. The contents and any evidence derived therefrom may be used under sub. (3)
when authorized or approved by the judge who acted on the original application where the judge finds on subsequent application, made as soon as practicable but no later than 48 hours, that the contents were otherwise intercepted in accordance with ss. 968.28
or 18 USC 2510
or by a like statute.
Evidence of intercepted oral or wire communications can be introduced only if the interception was authorized under s. 968.30; consent by one party to the communication is not sufficient. State ex rel. Arnold v. County Court, 51 Wis. 2d 434
, 187 N.W.2d 354
Although one-party consent tapes are lawful, they are not authorized by ss. 968.28 to 968.33 and therefore the contents cannot be admitted as evidence in chief, but sub. (3) does not prohibit giving such tapes to the state. State v. Waste Management of Wisconsin, Inc. 81 Wis. 2d 555
, 261 N.W.2d 147
Although a taped telephone conversation was obtained without a court order, the defendant opened the door to the tape's admission by extensive reference to the tape transcript during his case-in-chief. State v. Albrecht, 184 Wis. 2d 287
, 516 N.W.2d 776
(Ct. App. 1994).
Sub. (2) authorizes prosecutors to include intercepted communications in a criminal complaint. A prosecutor is a law enforcement officer under sub. (2), and preparation of complaints is within the prosecutor's official duties. State v. Gilmore, 193 Wis. 2d 403
, 535 N.W.2d 21
(Ct. App. 1995).
The state may incorporate intercepted communications in a criminal complaint if the complaint is filed under seal. Unilateral public disclosure of such communications in a complaint while not authorized does not subject the communication to suppression, but may entitle the defendant to remedies under s. 968.31. State v. Gilmore, 201 Wis. 2d 820
, 549 N.W.2d 401
The state may use one-party consent recordings of criminal activity, the disclosure of which is not authorized under sub. (3) (b), if the evidence inadvertently falls within the “plain hearing" of law enforcement officers conducting authorized surveillance. State v. Gil, 208 Wis. 2d 531
, 561 N.W.2d 760
(Ct. App. 1997), 95-3347
Since interception by government agents of an informant's telephone call was exclusively done by federal agents and was lawful under federal law, Wisconsin law did not govern its admissibility into evidence in a federal prosecution, notwithstanding that the telephone call may have been a privileged communication under Wisconsin law. United States v. Beni, 397 F. Supp. 1086
Procedure for interception of wire, electronic or oral communications. 968.30(1)(1)
Each application for an order authorizing or approving the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication shall be made in writing upon oath or affirmation to the court and shall state the applicant's authority to make the application and may be upon personal knowledge or information and belief. Each application shall include the following information:
The identity of the investigative or law enforcement officer making the application, and the officers authorizing the application.
A full and complete statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant, to justify the applicant's belief that an order should be issued, including:
Details of the particular offense that has been, is being, or is about to be committed;
A particular description of the nature and location of the facilities from which or the place where the communication is to be intercepted;
A particular description of the type of communications sought to be intercepted; and
The identity of the person, if known, committing the offense and whose communications are to be intercepted.
A full and complete statement whether or not other investigative procedures have been tried and failed or why they reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous.
A statement of the period of time for which the interception is required to be maintained. If the nature of the investigation is such that the authorization for interception should not automatically terminate when the described type of communication has been obtained, a particular description of facts establishing probable cause to believe that additional communications for the same type will occur thereafter.
A full and complete statement of the facts concerning all previous applications known to the individual authorizing and making the application, made to any court for authorization to intercept, or for approval of interceptions of, wire, electronic or oral communications involving any of the same persons, facilities or places specified in the application, and the action taken by the court on each such application; and
Where the application is for the extension of an order, a statement setting forth the results thus far obtained from the interception, or a reasonable explanation of the failure to obtain such results.
The court may require the applicant to furnish additional testimony or documentary evidence under oath or affirmation in support of the application. Oral testimony shall be reduced to writing.
Upon the application the court may enter an ex parte order, as requested or as modified, authorizing or approving interception of wire, electronic or oral communications, if the court determines on the basis of the facts submitted by the applicant that all of the following exist:
There is probable cause for belief that an individual is committing, has committed, or is about to commit a particular offense enumerated in s. 968.28
There is probable cause for belief that particular communications concerning that offense will be obtained through such interception.
Other investigative procedures have been tried and have failed or reasonably appear to be unlikely to succeed if tried or to be too dangerous.
There is probable cause for belief that the facilities from which, or the place where, the wire, electronic or oral communications are to be intercepted are being used, or are about to be used, in connection with the commission of the offense, or are leased to, listed in the name of, or commonly used by the person.
Each order authorizing or approving the interception of any wire, electronic or oral communication shall specify:
The identity of the person, if known, whose communications are to be intercepted;
The nature and location of the communications facilities which, or the place where authority to intercept is granted and the means by which such interceptions shall be made;
A particular description of the type of communication sought to be intercepted and a statement of the particular offense to which it relates;
The identity of the agency authorized to intercept the communications and of the person authorizing the application; and
The period of time during which such interception is authorized, including a statement whether or not the interception shall automatically terminate when the described communication has been first obtained.
No order entered under this section may authorize or approve the interception of any wire, electronic or oral communication for any period longer than is necessary to achieve the objective of the authorization, nor in any event longer than 30 days. The 30-day period begins on the earlier of the day on which the investigative or law enforcement officer first begins to conduct an interception under the order or 10 days after the order is entered. Extensions of an order may be granted, but only upon application for an extension made in accordance with sub. (1)
and the court making the findings required by sub. (3)
. The period of extension shall be no longer than the authorizing judge deems necessary to achieve the purposes for which it was granted and in no event be for longer than 30 days. Every order and extension thereof shall contain a provision that the authorization to intercept shall be executed as soon as practicable, shall be conducted in such a way as to minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception under this chapter, and must terminate upon attainment of the authorized objective, or in any event in 30 days. In the event the intercepted communication is in a code or foreign language, and an expert in that foreign language or code is not reasonably available during the interception period, minimization may be accomplished as soon as practicable after the interception.
Whenever an order authorizing interception is entered pursuant to ss. 968.28
, the order may require reports to be made to the court which issued the order showing what progress has been made toward achievement of the authorized objective and the need for continued interception. Such reports shall be made at such intervals as the court requires.
The contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication intercepted by any means authorized by ss. 968.28
shall, if possible, be recorded on tape or wire or other comparable device. The recording of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication under this subsection shall be done in such way as will protect the recording from editing or other alterations. Immediately upon the expiration of the period of the order or extensions thereof all such recordings and records of an intercepted wire, electronic or oral communication shall be filed with the court issuing the order and the court shall order the same to be sealed. Custody of the recordings and records shall be wherever the judge handling the application shall order. They shall not be destroyed except upon an order of the issuing or denying judge and in any event shall be properly kept and preserved for 10 years. Duplicate recordings and other records may be made for use or disclosure pursuant to the provisions for investigations under s. 968.29 (1)
. The presence of the seal provided for by this subsection, or a satisfactory explanation for the absence thereof, shall be a prerequisite for the use or disclosure of the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication or evidence derived therefrom under s. 968.29 (3)
Applications made and orders granted under ss. 968.28
together with all other papers and records in connection therewith shall be ordered sealed by the court. Custody of the applications, orders and other papers and records shall be wherever the judge shall order. Such applications and orders shall be disclosed only upon a showing of good cause before the judge and shall not be destroyed except on order of the issuing or denying judge, and in any event shall be kept for 10 years.
Any violation of this subsection may be punished as contempt of court.