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Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording 215

Tootech writes "Using an iPhone to secretly record a conversation is not a violation of the Wiretap Act if done for legitimate purposes, a federal appeals court has ruled. 'The defendant must have the intent to use the illicit recording to commit a tort of crime beyond the act of recording itself,' the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. Friday's decision, which involves a civil lawsuit over a secret audio recording produced from the 99-cent Recorder app, mirrors decisions in at least three other federal appeals courts."
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Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording

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  • ... where, as long as ONE of the parties of the conversation are aware it's being recorded, then it's legal.

    For them, this just affirms "business as usual".

  • That's OK, it's perfectly legal in Wisconsin, just an hour north of Chicago. Drive across state lines, make your recording, then broadcast for the world to hear.

  • by spikenerd ( 642677 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:24AM (#33303028)

    I admin a phone system in Idaho, a one party consent state. Basically, we can record anything without warning, even calls from two-party consent states.

    Really? That's not what [] says

    "According to California court case Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. (July 13, 2006) if someone from a one party notification state calls into a two party state such as California, then the two party notification law outweighs the one party notification law."

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:39AM (#33303258)

    The decision says that simply making the recording is not a tort or crime per se, but if you intend to use the recording to commit a tort or crime, then making the recording is itself prohibited.

    i.e. I can record you admitting that you're having an affair and send the recording to your spouse, but if I intend to use the recording to blackmail you, then the recording is itself a crime.

  • Feetch! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:43AM (#33303304)

    This has annoyed me for awhile now.

    I'm carrying a device that makes phone calls, plays music, has digital memory, and sometimes includes the ability to take voice memos, but it does not include built-in a feature for recording incoming and outgoing phone calls to that memory, all because of differing jurisdictions over whether or not you can record calls to which you're a party.

    These things have GPS built-in! Can't you just code the feature so that it complies with your location's laws?! Disable for certain corrupt-government regions, enable for others but regularly beeps, starts with an automated announcement, or runs in stealth mode according to your jurisdiction? Come on!

    As a bonus, include the ability to disable cell phones entirely based on GPS location so you no longer have to confiscate them when people enter your military base.

    And hey, can we get an exclusion to the wiretapping law for parents and legal guardians of minors so that they can monitor little Jimmy's drug trafficking deals and Jenny's prostitution hook-ups?

  • Re:Feetch! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pruss ( 246395 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:49AM (#33303384) Homepage

    You don't want to disable phones based on GPS location instead of confiscating. For what would you do when there is no GPS signal, e.g., indoors? (If you allow the cell-phone use, then the bad guys can use cell phones on a military base after removing the GPS antenna. If you don't allow the cell-phone use, then lots of good guys suffer because they can't make calls indoors.)

    This doesn't affect the recording feature suggestion, as that could be done via cell-tower ID.

  • Re:Feetch! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tophermeyer ( 1573841 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:09PM (#33303656)

    I'm carrying a device that makes phone calls, plays music, has digital memory, and sometimes includes the ability to take voice memos, but it does not include built-in a feature for recording incoming and outgoing phone calls to that memory, all because of differing jurisdictions over whether or not you can record calls to which you're a party.

    Android has a couple of apps that do it. But I can't imagine Apple (or any other operator of a closed OS) would want to make those kinds of apps available.

    iWiretap seems like it would be a bad iBusiness decision.

  • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:18PM (#33303794)

    Lawmakers and judges don't understand technology, so the law does regard different technologies as totally different. So for example the government can read your e-mail without a warrant but can't read your postal mail without a warrant; VoIP has different regulations than circuit-switched telephones; video rental records are mandated by Federal law to be private, but your Web browsing history is not. It's madness.

    Whether an existing law applies to a new technology, or not, is pretty much a roll of the dice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:44PM (#33304248)

    It has to me, cops lying through their ass in court. Caused me a world of grief, a lot of money and time to get the situation fixed. I was looking at *twenty fucking years* from them outright lying. No, I didn't get beat up, but a friend of mine who was with me got arrested on the bullshit charges, they stuck him in a cell with some huge nasty dude and he got raped, while the laughing pigs stood there and watched! I was in the cell right next to him. Little bitty guy didn't weigh 120, totally innocent. Those fools raided where we were at, demanded "the drugs". There WERE no drugs. They looked for an hour, we kept telling them no drugs. Finally they grabbed some vitamins and some cooking spices and went "Uh ha! Drugs"! Then repeated that crap in court to the judge.

    Nope, alleged public servants SHOULD be videoed and taped every time they are doing anything official, cops included, ESPECIALLY cops. I'd like to see every governmental employee everywhere on camera the full time they are on the job. Governmental corruption, lying, thievery and sheer laziness and incompetence is out of control, and now they are making more than the private sector, PLUS they all want top shelf pensions. And now they don't want to be recorded, for "homeland security" bullshit. Fuck 'em. The real "terrorists" in this nation are IN THE GOVERNMENT, and the most crime is CORRUPTION in government.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:48PM (#33304302) Homepage Journal

    Our state constitution is very clear on that and many court cases have been won.

    So if you're following someone and they happen to go through WA, be aware that any decent lawyer will get the wiretap results invalidated.

  • Re:Feetch! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:12PM (#33304678)

    It would affect the recording feature if you live near the border of 2 party state (or international border). You may be using the tower from a different jurisdiction, which may (incorrectly) modify the settings of the phone.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:30PM (#33304926) Homepage Journal

    Don't blame the whole state for what is really just the fault of Chicago and its exurbs. The people living in the rest of Illinois try to clean-up the corruption

    You don't live in Illinois, do you? The whole state is crooked. Cahokia (down by St Louis) has had the same Mayor for decades, despite the fact that it changed from a nice suburb to a ghetto after they paved E. St. Louis. I grew up there, Cahokia was always corrupt.

    I'm living in Springfield now, and the legislators come here for legislating sessions. The way those folks drive you can see that the people making the laws have less respect for them than anyone. A pair of judges here got into hot water a month or two back for one fixing the other's daughter's traffic ticket. A cop here was found planting evidence on a drug suspect.

    The citizens would like it cleaned up, but we're powerless; we get the candidates that get nominated. Do I vote for a shit sandwich or a turd sandwich?

  • by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:55PM (#33305296)

    It's not called "the Chicago way" for nothing.

    I lived there for a while as a kid, and it was common knowledge who owned who, and who you could mess with and who you couldn't.

    I find it almost impossible to believe that some of the jury members haven't been bought or threatened - powerful people in Cook county usually get their way regardless of the law.

    To be fair many other places have the same issue, but it doesn't seem to be as prevalent and blatant as it is in Chicago.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:59PM (#33306182) Journal

    You know, instead of playing the whole thing, you only show the 2 minutes of relevant material.

    Are you saying the part immediately after the edit where Sherrod explained how she decided not to be racist and to help the white farmers and learned from the experience was irrelevant?

    If you publish an excerpt with the intent to show racism, and the part immediately after you make the edit shows that there wasn't racism, that's really sleazy character assassination, and probably grounds for legal action (which is now underway). And coming from a man who claims to be an example of "conservative journalism", I'd say that makes Andrew Breitbart a lying, greasy douche-nozzle. And before you make what I expect to be your next rationalization, yes, Breitbart admitted to knowing that the tape was edited and also knowing about what was edited out.

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