Exceptions to the ProhibitionsInterceptions by
Providers of Wire or Electronic Communications Services
Section 2511(2)(a)(i) of Title 18 permits employees of providers of
wire or electronic communication services to intercept, disclose or use wire
electronic communications in the normal course of employment while engaged
activity which is necessarily incident to the rendition of service or to the
protection of the rights or property of the carrier of the communication.
1994 Act made a "technical correction" that expanded this exception, which
applies to wire or electronic service providers in the normal course of
business of rendering services or protecting rights or property to include
only wire communications but also electronic communications. House Rep. No.
103-827, 103d Cong., 2d Sess. 31 (1994), reprinted in 1994 U.S.Code
& Ad.News 3489, 3511.) Interception, divulgence, or use for other purposes
The provision allows telephone companies to combat "blue box" toll
fraud by intercepting portions of telephone calls which have been completed
circumventing the companies' billing systems. See United States
Auler, 539 F.2d 642 (7th Cir. 1976); United States v. Clegg, 509
605 (5th Cir. 1975). The provision has been applied by one court to an
an airline that operated a computerized travel reservation system, that was
a traditional telephone company. See United States v.
F.2d 1472 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 509 U.S. 905 (1993).
[cited in USAM 9-60.200]