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  • WobbleMe posted an update 3 months, 2 weeks ago  · 

    In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an opinion in ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez. The ACLU challenged the constitutionality of the Illinois wiretap statute, which, like the Massachusetts law, protected both private and public conversations and required the consent of all parties to a conversation. Unlike the Massachusetts wiretap statute, however, the Illinois statute prohibited all audio recording, not only surreptitious audio recording. The ACLU of Illinois was fearful of prosecution because it intended to record police officers performing their official duties in public as part of an accountability program.

    The Seventh Circuit granted a preliminary injunction and held that the Illinois wiretap statute likely violated the First Amendment because it prohibited the audio recording – a “medium of expression” – of public conversations of police officers where no privacy interests existed. The court said that the Illinois legislature was not justified in “criminalizing this particular method of preserving and publishing the public communications of these public officials.” Though it was not central to the decision, the court also noted that the ACLU’s plan was to openly – not surreptitiously – record police officers in public.