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Man Charged With HIPAA Violations For Video Taping Police 620

Bob the Super Hamste writes "The St. Paul Pioneer Press is reporting that Andrew Henderson was recording Ramsey County sheriff's deputies frisking a bloody-faced man, who was then loaded into an ambulance by paramedics. Then sheriff's deputy Jacqueline Muellner approached Henderson and confiscated his video camera, stating, 'We'll just take this for evidence,' which was recorded on Henderson's cell phone. On October 30th, Henderson went to the Arden Hills sheriff's office to retrieve his video camera, where he was told where he would have to wait to receive his camera back. A week later, Henderson was charged with obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct, with the citation stating, 'While handling a medical/check the welfare (call), (Henderson) was filming it. Data privacy HIPAA violation. Refused to identify self. Had to stop dealing with sit(uation) to deal w/Henderson.' In mid November, Henderson went back to the sheriff's office to attempt to retrieve his camera and get a copy of the report when Deputy Dan Eggers refused. ... Jennifer Granick, a specialist on privacy issues at Stanford University Law School, states that the alleged violation of HIPAA rules by Andrew Henderson is nonsense, stating, 'There's nothing in HIPAA that prevents someone who's not subject to HIPAA from taking photographs on the public streets, HIPAA has absolutely nothing to say about that.'" The article notes that the Deputy in question basically told the guy he was arrested for being a "buttinski" and recording someone in the midst of a violent mental health breakdown. Supposedly the footage was deleted from the camera while in police custody.
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Man Charged With HIPAA Violations For Video Taping Police

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  • by Furmy ( 854336 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:49PM (#42534841)
    If you are in public you have should have no expectation of privacy. If someone edits and shares the video to change the story then that could be grounds for libel.
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:53PM (#42534903) Homepage Journal

    Are you in public? then your right to privacy does not include filming you about your business.
    That is ANYBODY.

    "And, what if I did not want the tape to be posted? "
    Too damn bad.
    "Maybe I did something shameful and don’t want it to be public?"
    Too damn bad.

    " A little careful editing and it could look very bad."
    and now you change the subject. That would be lying or fraud. We have laws for that already.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:56PM (#42534965)
    While the headline of TFS asserts that he was charged with a HIPAA violation, the TFA makes clear that he was, in fact, charged with "obstruction of legal process and disorderly conduct"; the notes on the citation describing the event mention a HIPAA data privacy violation, but that's the description of the officer's version of the facts surrounding the charge, not the charged offense.
  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @02:58PM (#42535013) Homepage

    They have.

    One state supreme court struck down a law making recording police officers illegal []. And the Department of Justice wrote a letter to the police departments telling them to knock it off. [] And several courts have repeatedly thrown out [] these cases [] already.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrKevvy ( 85565 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:00PM (#42535029)

    SCOTUS doesn't need to make a ruling upholding a constitutional right, as the constitution already does.

    The Justice Department affirmed this strongly when they sent a letter to the Baltimore PD [] which asserted that it is a first amendment right to record, and a violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments to access and/or destroy such recordings without due process and/or a warrant.

    This made national headlines and so it's assured every police department in the U.S. is well aware of this.

    The victim should be contacting the DOJ and ACLU in short order.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:02PM (#42535077) Homepage

    It's common knowledge that police go trolling through law books looking for anything that sounds remotely charge-able against people they don't like.

    FTA: Deputy Dan Eggers in a recording, speaking to the victim: "They felt like you were being a 'buttinski' by getting that camera in there and partially recording what was going on in a situation that you were not directly involved in."

    That, combined with destruction of the evidence, does not remotely sound like honest belief in a HIPAA violation by an expert person knowledgeable in medical-industry practices.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:04PM (#42535097)

    Based on my experience with HIPAA, it's very likely the officer thought he was correct.

    Based on my experience with police, it's more likely that the officer knew he was incorrect. They'll make up rules and laws that don't exist if you are doing something they don't like because there are no repercussions when they lie to you.

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:11PM (#42535225)

    >Should public officials have privacy while on duty?

    If they are out in public, no. They have the same right to privacy that you and I do out in public: none.

    >But what about citizens?

    You have no right to privacy out in public. This is established law. Doing something out on a public thoroughfare, sidewalk, public building, etc, means that you expect people to see you do/say things. It's the reason why the police don't need a warrant to arrest you for doing something illegal in front of them.

    >A good phone should be able to eavesdrop on the private interview between suspect and cop.

    If it's in an office, it's private, but not out in public. It's a publich conversation.

    Tough shit.

    >And, what if I did not want the tape to be posted?

    Tough shit.

    >Maybe I did something shameful and donâ(TM)t want it to be public?

    Tough shit.

    >Maybe something that is implied to be shameful â" like a false arrest.

    Tough shit.

    You can redress this by various means up to and including suing for false arrest and making public statements about the bad practices of the PD that led to the false arrest.

    >Letâ(TM)s say you were pulled over for a moving violation in a red light district? A little careful editing and it could look very bad.

    Tough shit. The only right you have to complain is whether the editing was defamatory.


  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:25PM (#42535529)

    Are you in public? then your right to privacy does not include filming you about your business. That is ANYBODY.

    I do not think that is accurate. If you are recording things for your personal use I suspect its true. If you are recording for public use I suspect its not true, hence the need to get "model release" signatures or blur the faces of regular people who are recognizable. Note "regular" people, celebrities and public officials do not get this sort of protection.

    Also note that some places open to the public are not public spaces. I believe that on private property open to the public recording can be prohibited. I don't think you can get arrested but the property owner can surely instruct you to leave. If you fail to do so then you are trespassing and subject to arrest.

  • Re:sigh (Score:4, Informative)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @03:51PM (#42536089) Homepage

    A cop gets my phone...will take them more than casual effort to get into it, no?

    Actually, no [].

    Generally, law enforcement is going to get into your phone pretty handily.

  • Re:sigh (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @04:32PM (#42536961)

    The problem is it is almost never their best friend. I was told by a criminal attorney in my state that the state decided to discontinue video recording police encounters because 99.9% of the time it was losing cases for them. The video evidence was almost never in their favor. So they stopped. The number of violent, dangerous, angry, sadistic cops on the force is nothing but an embarrassment for the state. Police brutality and perjury is not just routine it is expected by almost everyone.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford