It is a crime to purposely intercept any wire, electronic, or oral communication. It is also a crime to disclose or use the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained unlawfully. n.J. sTaT. § 2a:156a-3. However, if the contents of the communication have “become public knowledge or public information,” then the disclosure is not a crime n.J. sTaT. § 2a:156a-3.
The statute makes an exception and allows interception if the person intercepting is a party to the communication, or if one party has given prior consent, unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act. n.J. sTaT. § 2a:156a-4. The fact that one subscriber to a particular telephone has consented does not authorize interception of conversations by other parties who use that telephone. n.J. sTaT. § 2a:156a-4.
Civil liability for unlawful interception or disclosure can be imposed for the greater of actual damages, $100 per day of violation $1,000, and can include punitive damages, attorney fees, and litigation costs. n.J. sTaT. § 2a:156a-24.