It is generally a violation of Mississippi law to intercept and acquire the contents of wire, oral or other communications with a mechanical or electronic device. The law against interception of communications applies neither to a “subscriber” to a telephone who “intercepts a communication on a telephone to which he subscribes,” nor to members of the subscriber’s household. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-535.
Violations can be punished as misdemeanors carrying the potential for imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $10,000. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-533. It is a felony, however, for anyone who is not a law-enforcement officer to disclose the contents of intercepted communications for any reason other than testifying under oath in a governmental or court proceeding, and the penalty for such disclosure can be up to five years imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-29-511, 529. Civil liability for an unlawful interception is expressly authorized for actual damages, $100 a day for each day of violation or $1,000 whichever is greater along with punitive damages. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-529.
In addition, the law specifically provides that if a person is a party to a communication, or has obtained consent from any one of the parties, no liability can be imposed unless the interception was accompanied by a criminal or tortious intent. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-29-531.
Moreover, the contents of cellular telephone communications are unlawfully obtained when access is gained by a person who is not the intended recipient, or is not authorized to have access to the transmission. The possible penalties for unlawfully obtaining access to cellular communications are imprisonment for up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-25-49.