New Jersey Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-29.

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New Jersey Wiretapping and
Electronic Surveillance Control Act

Christopher Soghoian described the power of law enforcement officials to obtain electronically stored evidence from providers of either electronic communication services or remote computing services.

Indeed, New Jersey law addresses this. Additionally, law enforcement authorities in New Jersey may also use wiretaps to obtain electronic evidence "in real time."*

Communication Data Warrants

To search and seize electronically stored evidence as described by Soghoian, New Jersey law requires police to get a Communication Data Warrant (CDW).

No CDW shall issue unless the law enforcement agency provides:
  1. specific and articulable facts
  2. showing reasonable grounds to believe
  3. the record or other information
  4. pertaining to a customer
  5. of an electronic communication service, remote computing service or communication common carrier
  6. is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.
Armed with either a warrant, a customer's consent to disclose, or a court order for disclosure, police may compel service providers as well as communication common carriers to supply law enforcement agencies with:
  • a record,
  • location data for a customer's mobile/wireless communications device, or
  • other information pertaining to a customer of the service.
Alternatively, if a law enforcement agency in good faith believes an emergency involving danger of death or serious bodily injury to the customer requires disclosure of information relating to the emergency without delay, then the service provider must provide location information for a customer's mobile or wireless communications device, but not a record or other customer information.

New Jersey law empowers law enforcement authorities to get this information under these circumstances without notification to the individual.

Furthermore, the law generally shields any service provider, officer, employee, agent and other specified person who cooperates with the government from civil liability.

A service provider may move before the court to quash or modify the order if:
  • the information or records requested are unusually voluminous, or
  • compliance would otherwise cause an undue burden.


If a grand jury or trial subpoena is issued, or when the State Commission of Investigation issues a subpoena, then service providers must provide the customer's:
  1. name;
  2. address;
  3. telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address;
  4. local and long distance telephone connection records or records of session times and durations;
  5. length of service, including start date, and types of services utilized; and
  6. means and source of payment for such service, including any credit card or bank account number,
Upon the request of a law enforcement agency, a provider of wire or electronic communication service or a remote computing service must take all necessary steps to preserve, for a period of 90 days, records and other evidence in its possession pending the issuance of a court order or other legal process. The preservation period will be extended for an additional 90 days upon the request of the law enforcement agency.

* A wiretap order permits the interception by law enforcement of a communication contemporaneous with the transmission.

New Jersey Trial Advocate Michael Smolensky, Esq., knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases involving Communication Data Warrants and Subpoenas. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.