Today's Law As Amended

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SB-1160 Communications: service interruptions.(2011-2012)



SECTION 1.

 Section 7904 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

7904.
 Every agent, operator, or employee of any telegraph or telephone office, who wilfully willfully  refuses or neglects to send any message received at such the  office for transmission, or wilfully willfully  postpones the transmission of the message out of its order, or wilfully willfully  refuses or neglects to deliver any message received by telegraph or telephone, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any message to be received, transmitted transmitted,  or delivered, unless the charges thereon have been paid or tendered, nor to require the sending, receiving, or delivery of any message counseling, aiding, abetting, or encouraging treason against the Government of the United States or of this State, or other resistance to the lawful authority, or any message calculated to further any fraudulent plan or purpose, or to instigate or encourage the perpetration of any unlawful act, or to facilitate the escape of any criminal or person accused of crime. tendered. 

SEC. 2.

 Section 7907 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.

7907.
 Notwithstanding Section 591, 631, or 632 of the Penal Code or Section 7906 of this code, whenever the supervising law enforcement official having jurisdiction has probable cause to believe that a person is holding hostages and is committing a crime, or is barricaded and is resisting apprehension through the use or threatened use of force, such official may order a previously designated telephone corporation security employee to arrange to cut, reroute, or divert telephone lines for the purpose of preventing telephone communication by such suspected person with any person other than a peace officer or a person authorized by the peace officer.
The telephone corporation shall designate a person as its security employee and an alternate to provide all required assistance to law enforcement officials to carry out the purposes of this section.
Good faith reliance on an order by a supervising law enforcement official shall constitute a complete defense to any action brought under this section.

SEC. 3.

 Section 7907 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

7907.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Communications service” means any communications service that interconnects with the public switched telephone network and is required by the Federal Communications Commission to provide customers with 911 access to emergency services.
(2) “Governmental entity” means every local government, including a city, county, city and county, a transit, joint powers, special, or other district, the state, and every agency, department, commission, board, bureau, or other political subdivision of the state, or any authorized agent thereof.
(3) “Interrupt communications service” means to knowingly or intentionally suspend, disconnect, interrupt, or disrupt communications service to one or more particular customers or all customers in a geographical area. “Interrupt communications service” does not include any interruption of service pursuant to a customer service agreement, a contract, a tariff, a provider’s internal practices to protect the security of its networks, Section 2876, 5322, or 5371.6 of this code, Section 149 or 7099.10 of the Business and Professions Code, or subdivision (d) of Section 4576 of the Penal Code.
(4) “Judicial officer” means a magistrate, judge, justice, commissioner, referee, or any person appointed by a court to serve in one of these capacities, of any state or federal court located in this state.
(b) (1) Unless authorized pursuant to subdivision (d) or (f), no governmental entity and no provider of communications service, acting at the request of a governmental entity, shall interrupt communications service for the purpose of protecting public safety or preventing the use of communications service for an illegal purpose, except pursuant to an order signed by a judicial officer that includes all of the following findings:
(A) That probable cause exists that the service is being or will be used for an unlawful purpose or to assist in a violation of the law.
(B) That absent immediate and summary action to interrupt communications service, serious, direct, immediate, and irreparable danger to public safety will result.
(C) That the interruption of communications service is narrowly tailored to prevent unlawful infringement of speech that is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution, or violate any other rights under federal or state law.
(2) The order shall clearly describe the specific communications service to be interrupted with sufficient detail as to customer, cell sector, central office, or geographical area affected, shall be narrowly tailored to the specific circumstances under which the order is made, and shall not interfere with more communication than is necessary to achieve the purposes of the order.
(3) The order shall authorize an interruption of service only for as long as is reasonably necessary and shall require that the interruption cease once the danger that justified the interruption is abated and shall specify a process to immediately serve notice on the communications service provider to cease the interruption.
(c) An order to interrupt communications service, or a signed statement of intent provided pursuant to subdivision (d), that falls within the federal Emergency Wireless Protocol shall be served on the California Emergency Management Agency. All other orders to interrupt communications service or statements of intent shall be served on the communications service provider’s contact for receiving requests from law enforcement, including receipt of and responding to state or federal warrants, orders, or subpoenas.
(d) (1) Communications service shall not be interrupted without a court order pursuant to subdivision (b) except in the most extreme emergency circumstances that require immediate interruption of communications service and there is insufficient time to obtain a court order. This standard is based on the following findings:
(A) Interruption of communications service threatens public safety by depriving persons of the ability to call 911 and communicate with family, friends, employers, schools, and others in an emergency; deprives persons of the ability to receive emergency alerts; and impairs the ability of first responders to communicate with each other.
(B) Interruption of communications service constitutes a prior restraint on speech, which the United States Supreme Court has held bears a heavy presumption of unconstitutionality and is justified under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution only in exceptional circumstances involving, for example, national security, nuclear disaster, or detonation of a bomb.
(2) If a governmental entity reasonably determines, upon consideration of these findings, that emergency circumstances are so extreme and exceptional that an interruption would meet the requirements for an order under subdivision (b) and outweigh any public safety threat from the interruption then the governmental entity may interrupt communications service without first obtaining a court order as required by this section, provided the entity does all of the following:
(A) Apply for a court order without delay, and in no event, later than six hours after commencement of an interruption of communications service.
(B) Provide the provider of communications service involved in the service interruption a statement of intent to apply for a court order signed by an authorized official of the governmental entity. The statement of intent shall clearly describe the extreme emergency circumstances, and the specific communications service to be interrupted with sufficient detail as to the customer, cell sector, central office, or geographical area affected.
(C) Provide conspicuous notice of the application for a court order authorizing the communications service interruption on its Internet Web site without delay, unless the circumstances that justify an interruption of communications services without first obtaining a court order justify not providing the notice.
(e) A provider of communications service that intentionally interrupts communications service pursuant to subdivision (b) shall comply with any rule or notification requirement of the commission or Federal Communications Commission, or both, and any other applicable provision or requirement of state or federal law.
(f) A designated peace officer who is authorized to use an electronic amplifying or recording device in an emergency situation that involves the taking of a hostage or the barricading of a location pursuant to Section 633.8 of the Penal Code may order a communications service provider to cut, reroute, or divert lines for the purpose of preventing communication by suspects involved in that emergency situation. If a designated police officer exercises authority pursuant to this subdivision, the procedural requirements for obtaining after-the-fact authority from a court pursuant to Section 633.8 of the Penal Code shall apply.
(g) (1) Good faith reliance by a communications service provider upon an order of a judicial officer authorizing the interruption of communications services pursuant to subdivision (b), or upon a signed statement of intent to apply for a court order that the government asserts meets the requirements of subdivision (d), shall constitute a complete defense for any communications service provider against any action brought as a result of the interruption of communications service as directed by that order or statement.
(2) Notwithstanding Section 591, 631, or 632 of the Penal Code, good faith reliance by a communications service provider, upon a request by a designated peace officer, pursuant to subdivision (f), to cut, reroute, or divert lines for the purpose of preventing communication by suspects involved in an emergency situation that involves the taking of a hostage or the barricading of a location, shall constitute a complete defense for any communications service provider against any action brought as a result of the cutting, rerouting, or diversion of lines as requested by that officer.
(h) The Legislature finds and declares that ensuring that California users of any communications service not have that service interrupted, and thereby be deprived of 911 access to emergency services or a means to engage in constitutionally protected expression, is a matter of statewide concern and not a municipal affair, as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution.