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"Wiretapping" Charges May Be Oddest Ever Recorded 439

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tap-into-the-future dept.
netbuzz writes "Guy kicks up a fuss at a Massachusetts car-repair shop, employees call the police, guy allegedly gives them a hard time, too, and they charge the fellow with a variety of expectable charges: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest ... and 'unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping.' The device? A digital voice recorder. Massachusetts is one of only 12 states that prohibit the recording of a conversation unless all parties to it are aware it's being recorded."
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'Wiretapping' Charges May Be Oddest Ever Recorded

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  • What, no link? (Score:5, Informative)

    by richy freeway (623503) * on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:48AM (#29378591)
    Link to source?
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I tried googling [google.com]. Results:

      News results:Standard Version | Text Version | Image Version Results 1 - 3 of about 3 for Massachusetts wiretap. (0.10 seconds)
      Sorted by relevance Sort by date Sort by date with duplicates includedIn Colorado, a Sizable Schism on Health-Care Reform
      Washington Post - Dan Balz - Sep 3, 2009
      They trusted government enough to not condemn torture and those who ordered it just like they trusted someone (who knows who) to wiretap citizens and mine ...Frank Blasts Nazi Compari

      • What are the 12 states?

        I NEED to know. ;-)

        • Re:What, no link? (Score:5, Informative)

          by FiloEleven (602040) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:36AM (#29379243)

          California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington

          "Filter error: That's an awful long string of letters there."

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Lumpy (12016)

            WRONG. Michigan requires only ONE party to know it's being taped. It's how my recordings of my ex wife were admissible in court.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by amicusNYCL (1538833)

              WRONG. Michigan requires only ONE party to know it's being taped.

              That's not what this says:

              http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/michigan-recording-law [citmedialaw.org]

              Michigan law makes it a crime to "use[] any device to eavesdrop upon [a] conversation without the consent of all parties." This looks like an "all party consent" law, but one Michigan Court has ruled that a participant in a private conversation may record it without violating the statute because the statutory term "eavesdrop" refers only to overhearing or recording the private conversations of others. The Michigan Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this question, so it is not clear whether you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to it. But, if you plan on recording a conversation to which you are not a party, you must get the consent of all parties to that conversation.

              Also, from the horse's mouth:

              http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-750-539c [mi.gov]

              Any person who is present or who is not present during a private conversation and who wilfully uses any device to eavesdrop upon the conversation without the consent of all parties thereto ... is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for not more than 2 years or by a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

    • Re:What, no link? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chapter80 (926879) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:02AM (#29378799)

      From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

      Two party consent states

      Twelve states currently require that BOTH or ALL parties consent to the recording. These states are:

              * California
              * Connecticut
              * Florida
              * Illinois
              * Maryland
              * Massachusetts
              * Michigan
              * Montana
              * Nevada
              * New Hampshire
              * Pennsylvania
              * Washington

      If you HATE that your state is on that list, get it changed! It's a wiki, you can change it yourself! :-)

  • Lie to me! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:49AM (#29378595) Homepage Journal

    Illinois is one of theose twelve states. I refer to it as the "liar's law". There is no other reason I can't record a conversation in a public place except that the politicians don't want their lies revealed.

    Well, maybe there are other secrets they want kept that aren't lies -- like their extramarital affairs. These 12 states, including mine, must have some incredibly immoral and hypocritical legislators.

    However, I'll bet that the wiretapping charge doesn't stick. These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

    Oh wait, strike that -- gambling is iolegal here, too.

    • Well, Chicago is in Illinois. I am sure that the Machine tried to kill off any recording of conversations by political types a long time ago.
    • Re:Lie to me! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:19AM (#29379041)
      Pennsylvania is one of the states with such a law. However, the Pennsylvania statute explicitly excepts those locations where a person does not have an expectation of privacy, such as a restaurant. I think that there is a good chance that this case would fall under such an exception
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JCSoRocks (1142053)

      However, I'll bet that the wiretapping charge doesn't stick. These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

      This is true, however, this is also the reason you don't piss off cops. Don't let them violate your rights, sure, but don't be a jerk. They will instantly acquire an almost da Vinci-like creativity for inventing reasons you've broken the law. It's not worth the hassle.

      • Re:Lie to me! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stanislav_J (947290) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:51AM (#29379457)

        This is true, however, this is also the reason you don't piss off cops. Don't let them violate your rights, sure, but don't be a jerk. They will instantly acquire an almost da Vinci-like creativity for inventing reasons you've broken the law.

        They don't need to "invent" anything. Why do you think all jurisdictions have those "catch-all" laws on the books, like "disorderly conduct" or "creating a disturbance" or "being a public nuisance." These laws are deliberately vague so that if you act like a dick when the cop stops you, he's got plenty of leeway to charge you with something.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rary (566291)

      I find it interesting that a website filled with people who are normally outraged at the idea of video surveillance in a public place with everyone's knowledge is so accepting of the idea of audio surveillance in a public place without everyone's knowledge.

      Personally, I'm on the fence on this. I don't like the idea of people recording me (audio or video) without my knowledge or consent, because as a general rule I don't trust people. However, I'm not sure I want a law to prevent it.

      • Re:Lie to me! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dog-Cow (21281) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:29AM (#29379151)

        Most of us don't care about private people recording people in public. I see people with video cameras and such all the time.

        What we don't appreciate is someone with armed forces and the "Law" at their disposal doing the same thing.

      • Re:Lie to me! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SydShamino (547793) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:30AM (#29379157)

        I can magically avoid detection on an audio tape by keeping my damn mouth shut.

        I can't yet magically avoid detection on a video tape by turning invisible. And no, wearing a ski mask to avoid recognition isn't a reasonable alternative.

        • Re:Lie to me! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Sancho (17056) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:51AM (#29379459) Homepage

          Moreover, it's illegal to cover your face for the purpose of disguising or hiding your identity in many places.

      • Re:Lie to me! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:34AM (#29379231)

        Usually such a law is supported by the argument that an undercover police officer can't record what you say without you knowing about it.

        I'm with you: I can see the ability to make such recordings being a great safety tool in some circumstances, but I can also see great potential for abuse.

    • Re:Lie to me! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:26AM (#29379121) Journal

      These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

      That's not a real improvement. Even a misdemeanor record will hurt your employment viability/ability to get a security clearance/ability to get a concealed carry permit (in some states)/ability to get professional licenses/etc/etc.

      When I got charged with felonies I didn't commit they offered me a plea bargain down to a misdemeanor. I told them to go to hell (actually my lawyer did but that's another matter) and fought it all the way to the Grand Jury that refused to indict me. Cost me a lot more money but at least I came out of it without a criminal record.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eth1 (94901)

        And that's the problem... It costs the state nothing to pile as many charges as they please on you, but it costs a SHITLOAD to fight them.

        Maybe it's time to make the state pay for your defense when you're aquitted? If they have one valid charge, and pile on 9 other bogus ones to see if they stick, they pay 90% of your defense bill if you're aquitted of 9/10 of them.

        • Re:Lie to me! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:37PM (#29380009)

          Maybe it's time to make the state pay for your defense when you're aquitted?

          Great idea, one that I'd like to see, but the law of unintended consequences will rear it's ugly head. If the state, i.e. taxpayers, have to pay for state mistakes, Judges and Juries will be even less likely to acquit. Would you rather have a few more innocent people go to jail, so that some people will be compensated for being wrongly accused?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Shakrai (717556)

          Maybe it's time to make the state pay for your defense when you're aquitted?

          I don't know about that. The law of unintended consequences will rear it's ugly head. I don't have many ill feelings about my trip through the legal system. My case basically boiled down to a "he said/she said" situation and the DA used the only tool at his disposal (the grand jury) to try and figure out what had really transpired. Once it became apparent that the people testifying against me had an axe to grind and the "evidence" they offered the police wasn't worth the paper it was printed on the gran

      • Re:Lie to me! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Khashishi (775369) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @01:07PM (#29380277) Journal

        Yeah, you should never plea guilty to something you didn't commit.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      So all those TV News hidden camera investigations, such as "To Catch a Predator" or local news catching crooked mechanics, are illegal?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      There is no other reason I can't record a conversation in a public place except that the politicians don't want their lies revealed.

      Uhh...huh? That's the ONLY reason you can think of? Absolutely nothing to do with privacy?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        You want privacy in public. This does not exist, and should not exist. (Anonymity, so long as it is not abused, is another thing, and a separate conversation.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      There is no other reason I can't record a conversation in a public place except that the politicians don't want their lies revealed.

      The police in NH hide behind this law. They've prosecuted a man who had a surveillance system in his house when a police officer misbehaved.

  • ... I would have included a link to the story! [networkworld.com]
  • by popo (107611) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:50AM (#29378627) Homepage

    Does that mean there are no video surveillance cameras in Massachusetts? Or is the owner of every single surveillance camera breaking the law?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by nolife (233813)

      The laws for audio and video are different in many areas. I assume that is why most video surveillance gear does not have audio capability.

      A quick google search turned this up that gives one example
      http://w3.uchastings.edu/plri/96-97tex/video.htm [uchastings.edu]

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Illinois has one of these laws and there are cameras all over the place. However, you can get around the law on your own property by making it clear that you are being recorded (not sure if Illinois law covers video, but audio is illegal). The McDonald's on 6th and South Grand has a sign at the entrances warning that audio and video are being collected. So if you enter the building, you are consenting to being recorded.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      I don't recall which state it was in, but there was a story on /. a while ago about someone being arrested because they had a sound and video recorder monitoring their front door and recorded a conversation with a policeman on their porch without first notifying him that he was being monitored.
    • by codegen (103601) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:38AM (#29379273) Journal
      Actually, the laws only apply to audio, video is just fine as long as there is no microphone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by camperdave (969942)
      How did you get from wire-tapping to video surveillance?

      I'd be more worried about a digital recorder being classified as a wire-tapping device. What does that mean for students who record lectures? For that matter, I have a digital camera on my desk that can record audio. Does this mean I can't bring it to Boston this weekend? What about cell phones, laptops, PDAs,watches [spytechs.com]? It used to be that recording devices were rare. Without turning my head I can see four computers, each with an audio in jack, eac
  • ...for audio recording equipment. How odd.

    Does anyone have a good reason for such a law, other than to protect important people (the ones who can cause laws to be written) who want to be able to deny saying something?

    -Todd
    • by truthsearch (249536) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:05AM (#29378819) Homepage Journal

      I could tell you, but you'd have to stop recording this conversation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Does anyone have a good reason for such a law, other than to protect important people

      Yes. [wikipedia.org] The sword cuts both ways.

      • Isn't it easier to just say blackmail than to go through all the effort of creating a link to make your point?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#29378841)

      If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:18AM (#29379031) Journal
        The solution to this, your eminence, is to make fewer things that everyone does illegal, not to ban writing.
        • If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

          The solution to this, your eminence, is to make fewer things that everyone does illegal, not to ban writing.

          You misunderstand. His Eminence does not see this as a problem in need of solving. Indeed, people who make others wear the noose without fearing it themselves find it an excellent way to solve their problems.

        • Except you too don't seem to understand what that quote really meant.

          Richelieu needed those 6 lines written by the hand of a person, so he could forge evidence of some crime in the handwriting of some person.

          To that end, it doesn't matter at all how many laws there actually are, and how many things are illegal. As long as there's at least one single thing that's illegal, say, murder (I think we can agree that there's no reason to make murder legal) Richelieu could still forge a letter in your writing when y

  • weird mix (Score:5, Informative)

    by prgrmr (568806) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:52AM (#29378651) Journal
    From http://www.articlesbase.com/national,-state,-local-articles/audio-recording-laws-in-the-us-431017.html [articlesbase.com]: "The 12 states which definitely require all parties to a conversation to consent before it can be recorded are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington"

    Possibly the weirdest mix of red, blue, coastal, and fly-over states.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "...one Michigan Court has ruled that a participant in a private conversation may record it without violating the statute because the statutory term "eavesdrop" refers only to overhearing or recording the private conversations of others. See Sullivan v. Gray, 342 N.W. 2d 58, 60-61 (Mich. Ct. App. 1982). "
      http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/michigan-recording-law [citmedialaw.org]

      (Yet to be tested by the Michigan Supreme Court)

    • by Chapter80 (926879)

      Interesting that your list includes Delaware, but the Wikipedia reference above, [slashdot.org] includes Nevada instead.

      Who to trust.. .Wikipedia, or a journalist?

      • From TFA [networkworld.com] (which wasn't included, but someone found it and posted the link):

        Nevada also has a one-party consent statute, but the state Supreme Court has interpreted it as an all-party rule.

        It also specifies that the all-party consent states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

        • Also, the legality of undisclosed taping for Delaware is specified here [rcfp.org]:

          In Delaware, there is some conflict with regards to whether a party to a conversation can record the communication without the other party's consent. Delaware's wiretapping and surveillance law specifically allows an individual to "intercept" any wire, oral or electronic communication to which the individual is a party, or a communication in which at least one of the parties has given prior consent, so long as the communication is not intercepted with a criminal or tortious intent.

          However, a Delaware privacy law makes it illegal to intercept "without the consent of all parties thereto a message by telephone, telegraph, letter or other means of communicating privately, including private conversation."

          The wiretapping law is much more recent, and at least one federal court has held that, even under the privacy law, an individual can record his own conversations.

    • Not pretentious (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by cromar (1103585)
      "Fly-over states?" No, that's not a pretentious phrase.
    • by Hatta (162192) *

      Possibly the weirdest mix of red, blue, coastal, and fly-over states.

      The desire of corrupt politicians to avoid being caught on tape is universal.

  • Wiretapping? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:54AM (#29378679) Journal

    Doesn't Wiretapping require you to use the recording device to record data traveling through wires?

    If I carry an old Casette Deck around with me and Record everything on a bus ride - is that considered Wire Tapping?

    They need to at least rename the law because I would have thought recording a conversation albeit discreetly would not be considered wire-tapping.

    • Re:Wiretapping? (Score:4, Informative)

      by prgrmr (568806) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:00AM (#29378765) Journal
      The law is Chapter 272: Section 99. Interception of wire and oral communications" [mass.gov]. Section B, paragraph 4 has the pertinent details:

      The term interception means to secretly hear, secretly record, or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication; provided that it shall not constitute an interception for an investigative or law enforcement officer, as defined in this section, to record or transmit a wire or oral communication if the officer is a party to such communication or has been given prior authorization to record or transmit the communication by such a party and if recorded or transmitted in the course of an investigation of a designated offense as defined herein."
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      If I carry an old Casette Deck around with me and Record everything on a bus ride - is that considered Wire Tapping?

      It is in Illinois.

      They need to at least rename the law because I would have thought recording a conversation albeit discreetly would not be considered wire-tapping.

      There are a LOT of misnamed laws. How about the PATRIOT act, for example? That POS law is as unamerican and unpatriotic as it gets.

      • by kimvette (919543)

        What do you expect from minitruth (Ministry of Truth, for those who have not read 1984)

  • !wiretap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VisiX (765225) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:56AM (#29378707)

    Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

    IMHO, it doesn't make sense that it can be illegal to record a conversation that you are part of since you have been explicitly granted access to the information (the guy is F@#$ing talking to you).

    • Re:!wiretap (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:07AM (#29378857)

      Why can't the legal system use common sense.

      Because it's controlled by lawyers, politicians, and the wealthy. Common sense, from a common citizen's perspective, will never be an emergent property from such a system.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Because it's controlled by lawyers, politicians, and the wealthy.

        Why'd you waste your time typing out all three words when any one by itself would have covered it?

    • Re:!wiretap (Score:5, Informative)

      by blueg3 (192743) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:08AM (#29378871)

      The law never uses the term wiretap: Interception of wire and oral communications [mass.gov]. Lawmakers can hardly be held responsible for the logical consequences of what other people choose to call things after the fact.

    • Re:!wiretap (Score:5, Informative)

      by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:12AM (#29378937) Homepage Journal

      Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

      The law in question is Chapter 272: Section 99. "Interception of wire and oral communications".
      So, yeah, the legal system doesn't always use common sense, but this isn't a great example for you.

      Also, you propose "unlawful recording without consent" - that's not right either. Massachusetts doesn't require consent to be recorded, just knowledge. So I can say to you "I'm recording this conversation," and you can say, "no, I don't consent, turn off the recorder," and it's irrelevant. I can keep recording and I can use the recording in any way I see fit. Your consent is immaterial.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hatta (162192) *

        So I can say to you "I'm recording this conversation," and you can say, "no, I don't consent, turn off the recorder," and it's irrelevant. I can keep recording and I can use the recording in any way I see fit. Your consent is immaterial.

        If I inform you that I am recording your speech, and you choose to keep talking, then you have consented.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Theaetetus (590071)

          If I inform you that I am recording your speech, and you choose to keep talking, then you have consented.

          No, you can expressly refuse consent. But it's irrelevant in this case, because your consent was never required. Merely your knowledge.

    • Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

      IMHO, it doesn't make sense that it can be illegal to record a conversation that you are part of since you have been explicitly granted access to the information (the guy is F@#$ing talking to you).

      And this would conceivably create the situation where a private citizen in a dispute with another citizen could compel him to do the old James Bond villain monologue where he outlines everything with a fucking cherry on top and then the judge throws it out as inadmissible.

      How about if someone leaves a death threat on an answering machine? Could that be considered consensual because the caller knows he's talking to a machine? What if he says he thought it was the real guy because he leaves one of those cute

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        And this would conceivably create the situation where a private citizen in a dispute with another citizen could compel him to do the old James Bond villain monologue where he outlines everything with a fucking cherry on top and then the judge throws it out as inadmissible.

        Actually when private citizens do that sort of stuff it's not thrown out as inadmissible unless they were doing it at the behest of the police. If I break into your house of my own accord and discover your pot grow operation/collection of body parts/captive sex slaves I can report what I've seen to the police and the evidence is admissible. If the police suggest that I should break into your house to discover this evidence then it won't be admissible.

        I might wind up getting charged with breaking and ente

  • Odious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harvey the nerd (582806) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @10:59AM (#29378757)
    Having such a recorder might be potentially important for memory impaired people on details and for the strong oral promises of con artists later denied.
  • I believe the point of these laws is to preserve a persons right to say something "anonymously".
    Often referred to as "off the record".

    Just as in now when I post this, I have the choice to click on the "Post Anonymously" checkbox.

  • Street Cred (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mindbrane (1548037)

    As far as I know it's a common practise among police, perhaps worldwide, to try to find out who is a hothead and who isn't. When a cop is called to a dispute or fight, not always but often, s/he will ask each participant a few pointed, even brusque questions. Those who answer the questions calmly and act in a restrained manner are usually given the benefit of the doubt in terms of who started or heightened the altercation. Those who respond to a cops questions antagonistically, and/or don't calm down, are

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Who modded this troll? It's informative.

      Cops want one thing, most of all, when approaching a situation: To get home tonight, safely. If you go threatening them or their family, you're attacking this hope. If you give them reason to believe you're holding the capacity to catch them offguard or blindside them, you're attacking this hope. That's why when you get pulled over for speeding, you put your hands on top of your steering wheel where the cop can see them. When the boys in blue (not IBM) come kno
    • Re:Street Cred (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Marcika (1003625) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @12:35PM (#29379993)

      When a cop is called to a dispute or fight, not always but often, s/he will ask each participant a few pointed, even brusque questions. [...] If you're stupid enough to react to a cop aggressively rather than addressing any wrongs later through the courts or a police complaints board then you're likely gonna get charges laid against you that otherwise might be let go.

      Yes, but this is the point - you will always be less credible than a cop before a court, if word stands against word. So if they prohibit your recording of all the insults the cop hurled at you (just because he can), you have no realistic chance of redress later through the courts (whether you became aggressive or not).

  • It's not all that odd. Privacy is kind of nice.

    I'd hate it if companies were constantly recording conversations without telling me. Of course, they all still record, but at least they have to tell me.

    It also forces police to get a warrant instead of nicely asking someone I'm about to call to record it.

  • State by State guide (Score:2, Informative)

    by modestgeek (1449921)
    Here is a state by state guide.
    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/states.html [rcfp.org]
  • Cellphones have been classified as "instruments of crime" on arrest reports before now.

  • by Reverberant (303566) on Thursday September 10, 2009 @11:53AM (#29379491) Homepage

    There was a case [ajr.org] before the Mass Supreme Judicial Court about 10 years ago where a motorist was stopped by the police. The motorist felt he was being singled-out unfairly so he secretly audio recorded the encounters. A few days later he went to the police station to file a formal complaint against the officers and submitted his recording as evidence. He wound up being arrested, charged and found responsible for violating the wiretap statute. The defendant appealed the decision up to the SJC and lost there.

    I've always been torn up a little about the wiretap statute. I think it's not totally unreasonable to have some measure of protection in citizen-to-citizen interactions, especially in this age of Youtube. However I've always felt there should be an exception to this rule for recording municipal and state employees (including police) acting in their official capacity.

    FWIW, there was an attempt to change the law to make an exception for recording police officers but (as one might expect) opposition from police unions killed it.

  • Analog tape recorders
    Video cameras
    Pencil and paper
    Good memory

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