FCC Complaint Filed Against Manchester PD

The follow was sent in an email with the subject line “Wiretapping complaint” by Wallace Nolen to fccinfo@fcc.gov on August 15th, 2012. [Nolen, by the way, is the admin of the new Vermont Cop Block offshoot.]

This writing shall constitute a formal complaint against the City of Manchester NH Police Department for failing to notify me that the department records most incoming calls on non-emergency telephone lines without either a beep tone or other verbal notification whatsoever that such call(s) are being recorded in violation of federal laws, regulations and/or FCC tariffs.

see: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/recording-telephone-conversations

I have placed over two dozen telephone calls where I was physically located in the State of Vermont (where I live) and about 4 telephone calls where was physically located in New Hampshire.  In all cases the calls were made from telephone numbers within the (802) area code so they knew or should have know that these were or may have been INTERSTATE CALLS.

Upon information and belief none of the following mandatory requirements were complied with including but not limited to:

  • preceded by verbal or written consent of all parties to the telephone conversation; or
  • preceded by verbal notification that is recorded at the beginning, and as part of the call, by the recording party; or
  • accompanied by an automatic tone warning device, sometimes called a “beep tone,” that automatically produces a distinct signal that is repeated at regular intervals during the course of the telephone conversation when the recording device is in use. Also, I do not believe that whatever recording device they used can be disconnected from the telephone line and/or that it cannot be switched on and off manually or automatically!

During testimony in an unrelated criminal trial, People v. Adam Mueller, NH Superior Court, Manchester NH on August 13th, 2012, a police captain stated that he believed that call calls on non-emergency lines including but not limited to “the officer-in-charge” line was routinely recorded!  In only one call wherein I had conversed with an officer-in-charge and specifically asked: “Is this call being recorded?” in which case a Sergeant stated it was in-fact being recorded.  When I stated that I did not wish to give my permission to recorded, he took about 45 seconds of more conversation to disconnect me.

I therefore wish to file a formal complaint and ask that the FCC take action against both the City of Manchester and the telephone company they use for such blatant and deliberate violations.

Wallace Nolen
PO Box 1025
Montpelier VT 05601-1025
email: wallacenolen5@yahoo.com
telephone: (802) 839-7392

Nolen received this response the following day from Kathryn Akerman (Kathryn.Akerman@puc.nh.gov):

Dear Mr. Nolen,

I spoke with our Legal Department concerning the complaint you filed with me earlier today.  I am being told that these questions do not concern public utilities; therefore the NH Public Utilities Commission would not be the appropriate agency to assist you in this matter.  These issues concern police powers to wire tap and we are not the agency regulating police.  Our recommendation to you would be to contact the NH Attorney General’s office and ask them to assist you in this matter.  You may reach their Consumer Protection Bureau at 603-271-3641.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kathryn A. Akerman, Utility Analyst
Consumer Affairs Department
New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 10
Concord, NH 03301-2429
phone 603-271-2431
fax 603-271-3878
email kathryn.akerman@puc.nh.gov

Two hours later Nolen replied with this message to Akerman.

I insist on being called by your Executive Director.  Other states’ public service departments and the FCC have entertained and acted on complaints of unauthorized recording by police, fire, ems, governmental agencies, private companies and private citizens.  What makes your agency any different except perhaps a coverup of official misconduct????

Wallace Nolen
PO Box 1025
Montpelier VT 05601-1025
email: wallacenolen5@yahoo.com
telephone: (802) 839-7392

Any guesses on what will happen?

Will Akerman and her colleagues hold the public servants employed at the Manchester police department to the same standard to which you and I are held? Or will Akerman and her colleagues claim an immunity/exemption/special clause for those at Manchester police department?

If history shows us anything, it’s that those who create legislation and administrative rules always interpret them to protect their fellow public servants. Perhaps, after all “public servants” isn’t the most-descriptive label for such individuals. It seems to me their actions fit much more accurately the definitely of an organized criminal enterprise.

UPDATE 2012.08.29:

From: Mark Wigfield <Mark.Wigfield@fcc.gov>
To: “‘wallacenolen5@yahoo.com‘”
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 12:12 PM
Subject: recording phone conversations

Mr. Nolen, here is a fact sheet regarding the rules on recording telephone conversations

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/recording-telephone-conversations

Regarding your questions on enforcement, we have no comment

From: “‘wallacenolen5@yahoo.com‘”
To: Mark Wigfield <Mark.Wigfield@fcc.gov>
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2012 1:38 PM
Subject: recording phone conversations

I am well aware of all the requirements in order to comply with FCC rules and regulations with respect to recording telephone conversations.  The question is why is the FCC refusing to vigorously investigate and enforce such requirements of a warning that the recording is being done and/or requiring the permission of all parties to the recording?

The Internet is filled with illegal recordings and I have documents that less than 5% of all law enforcement agencies with New Hampshire and Vermont are in full compliance with such requirements.

Wallace Nolen
PO Box 1025
Montpelier VT 05601-1025
email: wallacenolen5@yahoo.com

EPN

Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.