Current through the 2021 Legislative Session
Section 638 - Unlawful purchase or sale of telephone calling pattern record or list(a) Any person who purchases, sells, offers to purchase or sell, or conspires to purchase or sell any telephone calling pattern record or list, without the written consent of the subscriber, or any person who procures or obtains through fraud or deceit, or attempts to procure or obtain through fraud or deceit any telephone calling pattern record or list shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment. If the person has previously been convicted of a violation of this section, he or she is punishable by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment. (b) Any personal information contained in a telephone calling pattern record or list that is obtained in violation of this section shall be inadmissible as evidence in any judicial, administrative, legislative, or other proceeding except when that information is offered as proof in an action or prosecution for a violation of this section, or when otherwise authorized by law, in any criminal prosecution. (c) For purposes of this section: (1) "Person" includes an individual, business association, partnership, limited partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other legal entity. (2) "Telephone calling pattern record or list" means information retained by a telephone company that relates to the telephone number dialed by the subscriber, or other person using the subscriber's telephone with permission, or the incoming number of a call directed to the subscriber, or other data related to such calls typically contained on a subscriber telephone bill such as the time the call started and ended, the duration of the call, any charges applied, and any information described in subdivision (a) of Section 2891 of the Public Utilities Code whether the call was made from or to a telephone connected to the public switched telephone network, a cordless telephone, as defined in Section 632.6, a telephony device operating over the Internet utilizing voice over Internet protocol, a satellite telephone, or commercially available interconnected mobile phone service that provides access to the public switched telephone network via a mobile communication device employing radiowave technology to transmit calls, including cellular radiotelephone, broadband Personal Communications Services, and digital Specialized Mobile Radio. (3) "Telephone company" means a telephone corporation as defined in Section 234 of the Public Utilities Code or any other person that provides residential or commercial telephone service to a subscriber utilizing any of the technologies or methods enumerated in paragraph (2). (4) For purposes of this section, "purchase" and "sell" shall not include information provided to a collection agency or assignee of the debt by the telephone corporation, and used exclusively for the collection of the unpaid debt assigned by the telephone corporation, provided that the collection agency or assignee of the debt shall be liable for any disclosure of the information that is in violation of this section. (d) An employer of, or entity contracting with, a person who violates subdivision (a) shall only be subject to prosecution pursuant to that provision if the employer or contracting entity knowingly allowed the employee or contractor to engage in conduct that violated subdivision (a). (e) It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that telephone companies maintain telephone calling pattern records or lists in the strictest confidence, and protect the privacy of their subscribers with all due care. While it is not the intent of the Legislature in this act to preclude the sharing of information that is currently allowed by both state and federal laws and rules governing those records, it is the Legislature's intent in this act to preclude any unauthorized purchase or sale of that information. (f) This section shall not be construed to prevent a law enforcement or prosecutorial agency, or any officer, employee, or agent thereof from obtaining telephone records in connection with the performance of the official duties of the agency consistent with any other applicable state and federal law. (g) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution under any other provision of law. (h) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that, notwithstanding the prohibition on specific means of making available or obtaining personal calling records pursuant to this section, the disclosure of personal calling records through any other means is no less harmful to the privacy and security interests of Californians. This section is not intended to limit the scope or force of Section 2891 of the Public Utilities Code in any way.Added by Stats 2006 ch 626 (SB 202),s 1, eff. 1/1/2007.