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Court Case To Test Legality of Recording the Police With Your Cell Phone 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the truth-shall-get-you-tazed dept.
suraj.sun sends this excerpt from Ars Technica: "If you pull out your cell phone to make a video of police officers arresting a suspect, are you 'secretly recording' them? 'No' seems like the obvious answer, but that's precisely the claim that three police officers made to justify their arrest of a Boston man. In arguments before the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on Wednesday, the city also denied the man's claim that his First or Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. The case will be an important test of whether the Constitution protects individuals' right to record the police while they are on duty. Many states have 'one-party notification' wiretapping laws that allow any party to a conversation to secretly record it. But under the strict 'two-party notification' laws in Massachusetts, it's a crime to 'secretly record' audio communications unless 'all parties to such communication' have given their consent. The police arrested Glik for breaking this law. For good measure, they also charged Glik—who did no more than stand a few feet away with his cell phone—with 'aiding the escape of a prisoner' and 'disturbing the peace.'"
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Court Case To Test Legality of Recording the Police With Your Cell Phone

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  • by Ksevio (865461) on Friday June 10, 2011 @02:21PM (#36404504) Homepage
    The law is for audio recordings, not video only. I know I was pulled over once (light out) and the first thing the officer did was to inform me that he was recording audio and asked if I consented (I don't know what would happen if I didn't....).
  • Re:Two-way street (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday June 10, 2011 @02:22PM (#36404528)

    And police officers are exempt from this wiretapping law as well despite what these asshat cops and Boston think. Public officials, in this instance police officers, have NO expectation of privacy in a public place. There is already relevant case law from this very same circuit court to back this up.

  • Yet the jury is given such specific instructions that if they don't know their rights as a juror [fija.org] before serving on the jury, then the judge has nearly complete control over what happens.
  • by starfishsystems (834319) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:25PM (#36405304) Homepage
    Case in point: Robert Dziekanski [www.cbc.ca], a Polish traveller to Canada who was neglected for several hours in the airport immigration area, and who was then tasered to death by four RCMP officers within a few seconds of their arrival on the scene.

    The RCMP confiscated this video and only released it after enormous public pressure. Imagine what would have happened without this evidence. As it was, the police failed to separately debrief those officers in order to plausibly minimize the appearance of collusion. The same four officers are now charged with perjury after telling a fabricated story in which Dziekanski "attacked them with a stapler." This is the story which the RCMP administration vigorously defended and then ultimately abandoned - all at public cost.

    During the inquiry, the RCMP introduced massive procedural delays upon request to produce the internal documents recorded as a result of the incident. After documents were finally released, they were found to be incomplete. Significant among these, a police email suggested the officers made plans to taser Dziekanski even before they saw him. The RCMP lawyer eventually withdrew in tears after acknowledging the omission.

    This is what the police did in the face of independent evidence. Imagine what would have happened without this video as evidence.

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