Postal and Telecommunications Services Act, 1983

Prohibition on interception of telecommunications messages.

98.—(1) A person who—

(a) intercepts or attempts to intercept, or

(b) authorises, suffers or permits another person to intercept, or

(c) does anything that will enable him or another person to intercept,

telecommunications messages being transmitted by the company or who discloses the existence, substance or purport of any such message which has been intercepted or uses for any purpose any information obtained from any such message shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any person who is acting—

(a) (i) for the purpose of an investigation by a member of the Garda Síochána of a suspected offence under section 13 of the Post Office (Amendment) Act, 1951 (which refers to telecommunications messages of an obscene, menacing or similar character) on the complaint of a person claiming to have received such a message, or

(ii) in pursuance of a direction issued by the Minister under section 110 , or

(iii) under other lawful authority, or

(b) in the course of and to the extent required by his operating duties or duties for or in connection with the installation or maintenance of a line, apparatus or equipment for the transmission of telecommunications messages by the company.

(3) (a) The company may, with the consent of the Minister, make regulations to carry out the intentions of this section in so far as concerns members of its staff.

(b) The Minister, after consultation with the company, may direct the company to make regulations under paragraph (a) or to amend or revoke regulations made under that paragraph and the company shall comply with that direction.

(c) A person who contravenes any regulation under this subsection shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) (a) The Minister may make regulations prohibiting the provision or operation of overhearing facilities in relation to any apparatus (including private branch telephone exchanges) connected to the network of the company otherwise than in accordance with such conditions as he considers to be reasonable and prescribes in the regulations.

(b) A person who contravenes any regulation under this subsection shall be guilty of an offence.

(5) In this section, “interception” means listening to, or recording by any means, or acquiring the substance or purport of, any telecommunications message without the agreement of the person on whose behalf that message is transmitted by the company and of the person intended by him to receive that message.