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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 WillAdams (45638) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:04PM (#36404270) Homepage

    when performing official duties for the good of the public.

    If their supervisor showed up, they'd have to fully disclose everything which they were doing, ditto internal affairs, the police chief / superintendent, or a government functionary whose bailiwick involved the performance of their current duties.

    If they have something to hide, which they don't want revealed in court, they need to find some other line of work.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:14PM (#36404394)

    Hopefully the First Circuit court doesn't forget their 1999 ruling in Iacobucci v. Boulter [google.com] where the upheld the right to record public figures on public property. But according to the article the judges seem to find the reasoning of the city to be quite absurd so that is a good sign.

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:55PM (#36404922)

    If a news crew happen to be in the area and record what happens, are they violating the law also? Perhaps some legal expert can explain the difference to me.

  • bogus charges (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Khashishi (775369) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:49PM (#36406204) Journal

    The charges were dropped, of course, since they had no chance of standing up in court. The point was to intimidate the guy and put him in jail. The problem is that cops can just arrest you for a bogus charge and then drop the charges later. You get screwed anyway.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 10, 2011 @07:10PM (#36406986) Journal

    As someone who has a scar on the back of his head and a shoulder that hurts when it rains because of a cop that started with, and I quote "God damned niggers and fucking hippies, I don't know which I hate more" (BTW said "nigger" was a baptist minister I was taking to a revival to raise money for the homeless) I can say the reason why cops want to be able to throw your ass in jail if you dare to take their picture is a hell of a lot of them are roid raged "bullies with badges" that frankly took the job to get off on being absolute fucking pricks.

    For a good example of why they want the cameras stopped I'd suggest you watch the largest gang in America [youtube.com] and then you tell me what makes the actions in the video ANY different from the large scale intimidation tactics done by the brown shirts and the black shirts in times past? And before anyone says Godwin you watch the video and tell me that isn't large scale intimidation designed to suppress those that the blue shirts consider "undesirable". As I said I still have a scar from being a white person with hair the wrong length associating with a race the blue shirt considered undesirable.

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