Felony Friday: PA Passes Law To Increase Surveillance On School BusesSubmitted by McWilly on Fri, 06/13/2014 - 12:11
In the state of Pennsylvania it is a felony of the third degree if a person intercepts wire, electronic, or oral communications. It is a felony to disclose or uses any of the above communications if they are known to have been obtained through interception. The law specifies that it does not apply if all parties to the communication have given prior consent. In short, the law means that it is a felony to record another’s communications without their knowledge or permission.
Of course, there are exceptions built into the law for those individuals that work for the State and professions that enjoy a cozy working relationship with government officials. Police officers and any person acting at the direction of law enforcement are exempt from following the law. Exemptions are also made for personnel of utility and marketing companies that record calls in case of an emergency or for training purposes. They are allowed to record as long as a periodic message indicates to the parties involved that the communication is being recorded.
This year another group was granted an exemption to this law. Companies that operate school buses are now legally allowed to record audio on school buses as long as the following requirements are met: the school board has adopted a policy that authorizes the interception for disciplinary or security purposes, the school board notifies students and parents each school year by mailed letter, and notices are posted in a clearly visible area on vehicles that are furnished with audiotaping equipment. Many states have allowed both video and audio recording of school buses for quite some time, but Pennsylvania was late to the surveillance party.