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Censorship Cellphones Crime United States Your Rights Online

Leave a Message, Go To Jail 486

Posted by timothy
from the live-free-or-hey-shut-that-thing-off dept.
Okian Warrior writes "A man in Weare, New Hampshire was charged with felony wiretapping for recording the police during a traffic stop — based on a cell phone call he made as an officer approached his vehicle. From the article: Police considered it wiretapping because the call was being recorded by a voice mail service without the officer's consent."
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Leave a Message, Go To Jail

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  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:14PM (#35391142)
    Uhm, not in the UK it isn't - there are no laws forbidding you from photographing or videoing the police while on duty....

    Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.

    Source: The police themselves! http://www.met.police.uk/about/photography.htm [police.uk]

  • by Riot.ATL (1365395) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:16PM (#35391150)
    Atlanta's police are corrupt and brutal; it's for my own safety. They've beat me down before and left me, without any arrest, bleeding on the sidewalk. Every single time I interact with an officer where I'm suspected of committing a crime, I record the audio.
  • by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:26PM (#35391224) Homepage

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.CON.RES.298 [loc.gov]:

    This would prevent the prosecution of the recording of the police during their official duties.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:30PM (#35391262)

    This article [guardian.co.uk] describes three activists being arrested (it's not mentioned in the article, but they were all later acquitted); it's not clear if they were arrested for photographing police offices or for simply asking police officers to give their badge numbers (neither are illegal in the UK, and police officers are required by law to give their badge numbers when requested by a member of the public).

    The problem is that the police frequently seem to be unaware of what the law says.

    FitWatch [fitwatch.org.uk] is a great resource for seeing how the police photographers act, and how they expect civilian photographers to act.

    Posting anonymously because I live in what is rapidly becoming a very unpleasant place to live.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:31PM (#35391268)

    just buy a 200mw laser pointer, and point it to the camera for a minute or so.

  • Re:Double standard? (Score:5, Informative)

    by FlatEric521 (1164027) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:37PM (#35391328)

    Because if its the police doing the recording its easier for the recording to go missing or accidentally glitch than it would be if the person being pulled over did the recording.

    And the article mentions that claim:

    Police also claim dashboard camera videos of her arrest aren't available because the equipment wasn't working that night. Hipple said police don't have maintenance records to prove the cameras weren't working.

    That was from an earlier arrest of a different person, so it might be no surprise that the man the article focused on didn't trust the police to have records of his traffic stop.

  • by MidoriKid (473433) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:41PM (#35391360)

    That link says they have the power to confiscate anything they think might be evidence of terrorism. "This includes any mobile telephone or camera containing such evidence."

    So basically, you can photograph and video tape the police if you want your camera seized.

  • by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:48PM (#35391408)
    Here is a summary of NH law [rcfp.org]. It does seem pretty severe. According to this article [boingboing.net] only two states don't allow recording without consent when there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. From link one, it looks like NH may be one of them.
  • by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @04:50PM (#35391424)
    relevant law [nhdcyf.info]
  • Nope (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @05:54PM (#35391892)

    Precedent has been set. State of Maryland vs Plitt

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/crime/blog/2010/09/motorcyclist_wins_taping_case.html

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2011 @05:57PM (#35391912)

    Despite the insane surveillance of the UK, given the equivalent in the US, it would equal catastrophe. The police state in the UK may be , excessive, advanced and sophisticated, but it's a bit more passive in direct application than in the US. Also, I suspect the prison industry is a less vital part of the UK economy. In the US, the prison industry booming, and aggressively supported. Citizens are virtually hunted to fill the prison cells in the US. In the UK, you'd not serve ten years for possession.

  • by morari (1080535) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @06:19PM (#35392112) Journal

    I'm pretty sure that the 60s and 70s prove your point. Revolution was budding up everywhere in the wake of the counter-culture movement. What did the government do? They sent spies in, partook in character assassination (if not unproven physical assassination), and allowed the National Guard to murder innocent protesters and bystanders.

  • by Plugh (27537) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @07:05PM (#35392534) Homepage

    Here in NH we have this thing called the "NH Liberty Alliance" which is this psuedo-anarchist libertarian/teaparty group that tries to indirectly egg-on the police. They pull stunts like carrying a pistol standing downtown at a crowded intersection (which is legal), and pull out the camcorder if a cop walks over to ask them if everything is ok

    As a former Director of Research for the NH Liberty Alliance [nhliberty.org], I can say fairly categorically that you're damn confused about what the NHLA is, and does.

    The NHLA is a non-partisan, libertarian-leaning political organization. The organization's goals [nhliberty.org] are "to increase individual freedom in New Hampshire. We do this by monitoring bills in the legislative sessions and encouraging private charity, a civil society, and citizen involvement."

    I suspect you are confusing the NHLA with other "liberty-oriented" groups in NH, just as the apolitical civil-disobedience crowd over at Free Keene [freekeene.com] or NH Underground [nhunderground.com]. Personally, while I agree with the philosophy and sentiment of many of those people, I despise those groups and their frankly stupid, counterproductive antics.

  • by commodore6502 (1981532) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @07:43PM (#35392826)

    In MOST US states, recording conversations only requires the consent of ONE person. In this case, that would be the caller.

    Of course would could also argue the cop was ON A PUBLIC STREET and therefore has "no expectation of privacy" to quote the US Supreme Court. It sounds like this case is destined to be over-turned.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday March 05, 2011 @08:16PM (#35393072) Homepage Journal

    Here is a summary of NH law [rcfp.org]. It does seem pretty severe.

    It is, and a favorite tool of abuse. We [nhliberty.org]'re working to get this fixed.

    Here's my testimony [youtube.com] before the NH House for a bill that would remove any possible wiretapping charges when it involves a public employee executing his duties ("On The Job, On The Record"). New Hampshire folk, please call your reps and ask them to support HB145.

    Now, then, the interesting part. This video was shot by the man so accused - he's an accomplished videographer [youtube.com] who spends a tremendous amount of volunteer time video recording NH Legislative hearings for those who cannot attend. He participated in the political process to get rid of this abusive loophole in the law just a handful of days before charges were brought. On an 8-month old 'incident', one that's likely to be dismissed on a simple reading of the law (a telecommunications device, e.g. a cell phone, is explicitly excepted). His video comments were critical (and rightly so) of those who abuse the system. To me, this is retribution for engaging in the political process.

    The first bit of testimony in this video was from a woman who was targeted by the same police department (one that refuses to return her camera even after charges were dismissed). It's hoped that the chief is replaced in the election this coming Tuesday (and thus a house-cleaning can begin - these charges against the department are among the less severe).

  • by LordKronos (470910) on Saturday March 05, 2011 @09:12PM (#35393396) Homepage

    they have no state income tax.

    Try to get at least one simple fact right.

    It seems he already did

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