Legislation to make it illegal for people to use scanners to intentionally eavesdrop on cellular phone calls has cleared the House.
By a 414-1 vote Thursday, the House approved a bill that would prohibit people from modifying scanners to "intentionally intercept or divulge the content of radio communications." The bill, which would clarify and expand current prohibitions, would also eliminate the current $2,000 cap on penalties for violations.The bill arose after a Florida couple used a scanner to listen and tape-record a 1996 cellular telephone conversation that Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was having with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas.
"Little did I know that my words and my expressions were being recorded and end up as part of public relations campaign to try to destroy the speaker," Boehner, No. 4 in the GOP leadership, said during House debate.
The tape made its way from Florida to the House ethics committee and was published by The New York Times.