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"Wiretapping" Charges May Be Oddest Ever Recorded

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the tap-into-the-future dept.

Privacy 439

netbuzz writes "Guy kicks up a fuss at a Massachusetts car-repair shop, employees call the police, guy allegedly gives them a hard time, too, and they charge the fellow with a variety of expectable charges: disorderly conduct, resisting arrest ... and 'unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping.' The device? A digital voice recorder. Massachusetts is one of only 12 states that prohibit the recording of a conversation unless all parties to it are aware it's being recorded."

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What, no link? (4, Informative)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378591)

Link to source?

Re:What, no link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378701)

I searched google news with several strings, but fond nothing. Without a linked source it didn't happen...

Re:What, no link? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378731)

I tried googling [google.com] . Results:

News results:Standard Version | Text Version | Image Version Results 1 - 3 of about 3 for Massachusetts wiretap. (0.10 seconds)
  Sorted by relevance Sort by date Sort by date with duplicates includedIn Colorado, a Sizable Schism on Health-Care Reform
Washington Post - Dan Balz - Sep 3, 2009
They trusted government enough to not condemn torture and those who ordered it just like they trusted someone (who knows who) to wiretap citizens and mine ...Frank Blasts Nazi Comparisons From LaRouche Backers

Washington Post - Garance Franke-Ruta, Sarah Lovenheim - Aug 19, 2009
I forgot to mention in my earlier post about Bush's policy to wire-tap the American people's phone conversation without their consent or knowledge. ...Evening Mail - Riaa oelaw" That Never Was

Watching the Watchers.org - Aug 19, 2009
In 1994, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed federal wiretap charges against LaMacchia, holding that the wiretap ...

Stay up to date on these results:
Create an email alert for Massachusetts wiretap
Search blogs for Massachusetts wiretap
Add a custom section for Massachusetts wiretap to Google News
Add a news gadget for Massachusetts wiretap to your Google homepage

I wonder if it's a hoax? Every newspaper has a website these days.

Re:What, no link? (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378803)

What are the 12 states?

I NEED to know. ;-)

Re:What, no link? (4, Informative)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379243)

California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington

"Filter error: That's an awful long string of letters there."

Re:What, no link? (5, Informative)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378799)

From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

Two party consent states

Twelve states currently require that BOTH or ALL parties consent to the recording. These states are:

        * California
        * Connecticut
        * Florida
        * Illinois
        * Maryland
        * Massachusetts
        * Michigan
        * Montana
        * Nevada
        * New Hampshire
        * Pennsylvania
        * Washington

If you HATE that your state is on that list, get it changed! It's a wiki, you can change it yourself! :-)

Re:What, no link? (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379093)

If you HATE that your state is on that list, get it changed!

Or just ignore the law and get away with doing so because your violation of the law provided convenient political ammo for somebody. Linda Tripp was never prosecuted for recording her phone calls with Monica Lewinsky, even though she made those recordings without her knowledge in a two party (Maryland) state.

You're wrong Shakrai. (4, Interesting)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379285)

Re:You're wrong Shakrai. (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379299)

How does a Federal special prosecutor give immunity against State charges? I assume you are familiar with the 10th amendment and the concept of separation of powers?

Re:What, no link? (1)

Pandare (975485) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379403)

Except for the fact that she was, you know, prosecuted [wikipedia.org] , but later the charges were dropped since she was helping a massive federal investigation. But your way works, too. I mean, why would we ever want to encourage people assisting in an ongoing investigation for a public official? It's not like they've ever had private citizens [wikipedia.org] help with investigations of someone up to no good...

Lie to me! (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378595)

Illinois is one of theose twelve states. I refer to it as the "liar's law". There is no other reason I can't record a conversation in a public place except that the politicians don't want their lies revealed.

Well, maybe there are other secrets they want kept that aren't lies -- like their extramarital affairs. These 12 states, including mine, must have some incredibly immoral and hypocritical legislators.

However, I'll bet that the wiretapping charge doesn't stick. These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

Oh wait, strike that -- gambling is iolegal here, too.

Re:Lie to me! (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378791)

Well, Chicago is in Illinois. I am sure that the Machine tried to kill off any recording of conversations by political types a long time ago.

Re:Lie to me! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379363)

Chicago politicians are corrupt? Whats this I dont even

Re:Lie to me! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378807)

gambling is iolegal here, too
 
I assume you meant "illegal", you fucking hick. Oh, lovely Springfield... mcgrew, you are the sole true observer, and must use your powers for good and run for office! Luckily, because of that tape recording law, no one will discover your illicit affairs with crack whores! Not even your daughter will know.

Re:Lie to me! (-1, Troll)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378813)

Perhaps one of those states is where Glenn Beck allegedly raped and murdered a young girl in 1990 [gb1990.com] . Now, I'm not saying he did it, but there is some discussion over whether or not it is true. But, if it were in one of those twelve states, then no one would have been able to video tape it for fear running afoul of wiretapping laws.

Re:Lie to me! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379297)

You're a fucking moron.

Re:Lie to me! (3, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379041)

Pennsylvania is one of the states with such a law. However, the Pennsylvania statute explicitly excepts those locations where a person does not have an expectation of privacy, such as a restaurant. I think that there is a good chance that this case would fall under such an exception

Re:Lie to me! (2, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379073)

However, I'll bet that the wiretapping charge doesn't stick. These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

This is true, however, this is also the reason you don't piss off cops. Don't let them violate your rights, sure, but don't be a jerk. They will instantly acquire an almost da Vinci-like creativity for inventing reasons you've broken the law. It's not worth the hassle.

Re:Lie to me! (2, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379077)

I find it interesting that a website filled with people who are normally outraged at the idea of video surveillance in a public place with everyone's knowledge is so accepting of the idea of audio surveillance in a public place without everyone's knowledge.

Personally, I'm on the fence on this. I don't like the idea of people recording me (audio or video) without my knowledge or consent, because as a general rule I don't trust people. However, I'm not sure I want a law to prevent it.

Re:Lie to me! (5, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379151)

Most of us don't care about private people recording people in public. I see people with video cameras and such all the time.

What we don't appreciate is someone with armed forces and the "Law" at their disposal doing the same thing.

Re:Lie to me! (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379157)

I can magically avoid detection on an audio tape by keeping my damn mouth shut.

I can't yet magically avoid detection on a video tape by turning invisible. And no, wearing a ski mask to avoid recognition isn't a reasonable alternative.

Re:Lie to me! (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379231)

Usually such a law is supported by the argument that an undercover police officer can't record what you say without you knowing about it.

I'm with you: I can see the ability to make such recordings being a great safety tool in some circumstances, but I can also see great potential for abuse.

Re:Lie to me! (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379121)

These days the cops make all sorts of spurious charges and the DA plea bargains the charges down. I'll bet he pays a few huundred bucks fine for a misdemeanor.

That's not a real improvement. Even a misdemeanor record will hurt your employment viability/ability to get a security clearance/ability to get a concealed carry permit (in some states)/ability to get professional licenses/etc/etc.

When I got charged with felonies I didn't commit they offered me a plea bargain down to a misdemeanor. I told them to go to hell (actually my lawyer did but that's another matter) and fought it all the way to the Grand Jury that refused to indict me. Cost me a lot more money but at least I came out of it without a criminal record.

Re:Lie to me! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379137)

So all those TV News hidden camera investigations, such as "To Catch a Predator" or local news catching crooked mechanics, are illegal?

Re:Lie to me! (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379247)

There is no other reason I can't record a conversation in a public place except that the politicians don't want their lies revealed.

Uhh...huh? That's the ONLY reason you can think of? Absolutely nothing to do with privacy?

"only 12 states" (1)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378617)

~25% does not seem like an insignificant amount.

Re:"only 12 states" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378661)

What are the 12 states?

Re:"only 12 states" (0, Redundant)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378869)

~25%... or exactly 20%.
6 of one, ~3/5 dozen of another, I guess.

Re:"only 12 states" (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378903)

12/50 = 24/100

Doesn't sound like exactly 20% to me. Closer to exactly 24% (or ~25%)

Am I missing something?

Re:"only 12 states" (4, Funny)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379173)

12/50 = 24/100

Doesn't sound like exactly 20% to me. Closer to exactly 24% (or ~25%)

Am I missing something?

Canada? Western Europe? Iraq?

/ducks

Re:"only 12 states" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378953)

Since when are there 60 states?

Re:"only 12 states" (3, Funny)

GradiusCVK (1017360) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378957)

Lol, self-pwned - meant to type "exactly 24%". Nit-picking claims another victim.

Re:"only 12 states" (1)

Cocoronixx (551128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379187)

My e-vil plan of causing a self-0wn worked!

Re:"only 12 states" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379001)

12 * 5 = 50?

Re:"only 12 states" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379405)

~25% does not seem like an insignificant amount.

It can be insignificant to a libertarian editor trying to make some obtuse point in placing this story on the front page.

If I had submitted this ... (1, Redundant)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378625)

... I would have included a link to the story! [networkworld.com]

Video Surveillance Cameras? (2, Interesting)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378627)

Does that mean there are no video surveillance cameras in Massachusetts? Or is the owner of every single surveillance camera breaking the law?

Re:Video Surveillance Cameras? (2, Informative)

nolife (233813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378787)

The laws for audio and video are different in many areas. I assume that is why most video surveillance gear does not have audio capability.

A quick google search turned this up that gives one example
http://w3.uchastings.edu/plri/96-97tex/video.htm [uchastings.edu]

Re:Video Surveillance Cameras? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378919)

Illinois has one of these laws and there are cameras all over the place. However, you can get around the law on your own property by making it clear that you are being recorded (not sure if Illinois law covers video, but audio is illegal). The McDonald's on 6th and South Grand has a sign at the entrances warning that audio and video are being collected. So if you enter the building, you are consenting to being recorded.

Re:Video Surveillance Cameras? (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378993)

I don't recall which state it was in, but there was a story on /. a while ago about someone being arrested because they had a sound and video recorder monitoring their front door and recorded a conversation with a policeman on their porch without first notifying him that he was being monitored.

Re:Video Surveillance Cameras? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379181)

Amazingly enough, that also happened in Massachusetts [slashdot.org] .

Funny how all the stories about [slashdot.org] police [slashdot.org] overreacting [slashdot.org] seem to come from Massachusetts.

Re:Video Surveillance Cameras? (4, Interesting)

codegen (103601) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379273)

Actually, the laws only apply to audio, video is just fine as long as there is no microphone.

A concealed carry law... (1)

bezenek (958723) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378649)

...for audio recording equipment. How odd.

Does anyone have a good reason for such a law, other than to protect important people (the ones who can cause laws to be written) who want to be able to deny saying something?

-Todd

Re:A concealed carry law... (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378819)

I could tell you, but you'd have to stop recording this conversation.

Re:A concealed carry law... (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378823)

Does anyone have a good reason for such a law, other than to protect important people

Yes. [wikipedia.org] The sword cuts both ways.

Re:A concealed carry law... (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379055)

Isn't it easier to just say blackmail than to go through all the effort of creating a link to make your point?

Re:A concealed carry law... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378841)

If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.

Re:A concealed carry law... (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379031)

The solution to this, your eminence, is to make fewer things that everyone does illegal, not to ban writing.

weird mix (4, Informative)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378651)

From http://www.articlesbase.com/national,-state,-local-articles/audio-recording-laws-in-the-us-431017.html [articlesbase.com] : "The 12 states which definitely require all parties to a conversation to consent before it can be recorded are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington"

Possibly the weirdest mix of red, blue, coastal, and fly-over states.

Re:weird mix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378809)

One thing I do notice is that a few are very privacy oriented (California, New Hampshire and Montana) while several have common corruption in government (Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington). I don't know about the other states, so I can't comment on them, but maybe someone more familiar can.

Re:weird mix (1)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378899)

Well that would explain why cell phone providers don't include the obvious feature to record both sides of a conversation, even temporarily. How man times have you hung up from a call and then said to yourself, "did he say the meeting was Friday at six?" ... or are the cell-phone software makers just lazy-ass programmers that simply want to get some piece of crap out to market before their competitor?

Re:weird mix (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379059)

Here, it's explicitly legal to record a discussion you are partaking in. Cell phones can still only record one side, and it's a hassle (and hardly possible to turn on quietly).

A bit strange, really. It's a feature I'd pay for - or at least, a feature which would weigh heavily next time I buy a phone.

Re:weird mix (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379195)

Cell phones can still only record one side, and it's a hassle (and hardly possible to turn on quietly).

Huh? I bought a $12 phone recorder at radio shack that plugs into the headset port on my cell phone. The other end plugs into a tape recorder or sound card. It records both sides of the call and isn't disrupt the call any more than plugging in a regular headset would.

Re:weird mix (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379069)

It could very easily be both. The developers were lazy and when asked to do the work they went and found a reason why they shouldn't have to do the work.

Re:weird mix (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378945)

"...one Michigan Court has ruled that a participant in a private conversation may record it without violating the statute because the statutory term "eavesdrop" refers only to overhearing or recording the private conversations of others. See Sullivan v. Gray, 342 N.W. 2d 58, 60-61 (Mich. Ct. App. 1982). "
http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/michigan-recording-law [citmedialaw.org]

(Yet to be tested by the Michigan Supreme Court)

Re:weird mix (1)

Rob_Ogilvie (872621) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378995)

Oregon has a similar law. It's a misdemeanor.

Re:weird mix (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379005)

Interesting that your list includes Delaware, but the Wikipedia reference above, [slashdot.org] includes Nevada instead.

Who to trust.. .Wikipedia, or a journalist?

Re:weird mix (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379255)

From TFA [networkworld.com] (which wasn't included, but someone found it and posted the link):

Nevada also has a one-party consent statute, but the state Supreme Court has interpreted it as an all-party rule.

It also specifies that the all-party consent states are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Re:weird mix (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379305)

Also, the legality of undisclosed taping for Delaware is specified here [rcfp.org] :

In Delaware, there is some conflict with regards to whether a party to a conversation can record the communication without the other party's consent. Delaware's wiretapping and surveillance law specifically allows an individual to "intercept" any wire, oral or electronic communication to which the individual is a party, or a communication in which at least one of the parties has given prior consent, so long as the communication is not intercepted with a criminal or tortious intent.

However, a Delaware privacy law makes it illegal to intercept "without the consent of all parties thereto a message by telephone, telegraph, letter or other means of communicating privately, including private conversation."

The wiretapping law is much more recent, and at least one federal court has held that, even under the privacy law, an individual can record his own conversations.

Not pretentious (1, Flamebait)

cromar (1103585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379109)

"Fly-over states?" No, that's not a pretentious phrase.

Re:weird mix (1)

modestgeek (1449921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379127)

Delaware has both a law that says you can and another law that says you can't. However, a federal court has upheld the right to record as long as one of the parties knows about it.

http://www.rcfp.org/taping/states/delaware.html [rcfp.org]

Smartphones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29378653)

No link to source to see if he was recording or busted because he possessed one but if the latter doesn't that make anyone with an iPhone guilty of breaking that law? Since release 3.0 they all have a voice recording capability. Leave your phones at the border people!

Re:Smartphones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379201)

Yeah, the iPhone since a few months, and EVERY OTHER FUCKING PHONE ON THE PLANET since several years ago.

Wiretapping? (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378679)

Doesn't Wiretapping require you to use the recording device to record data traveling through wires?

If I carry an old Casette Deck around with me and Record everything on a bus ride - is that considered Wire Tapping?

They need to at least rename the law because I would have thought recording a conversation albeit discreetly would not be considered wire-tapping.

Re:Wiretapping? (3, Informative)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378765)

The law is Chapter 272: Section 99. Interception of wire and oral communications" [mass.gov] . Section B, paragraph 4 has the pertinent details:

The term interception means to secretly hear, secretly record, or aid another to secretly hear or secretly record the contents of any wire or oral communication through the use of any intercepting device by any person other than a person given prior authority by all parties to such communication; provided that it shall not constitute an interception for an investigative or law enforcement officer, as defined in this section, to record or transmit a wire or oral communication if the officer is a party to such communication or has been given prior authorization to record or transmit the communication by such a party and if recorded or transmitted in the course of an investigation of a designated offense as defined herein."

If he'd used an iPhone... (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378843)

3. The term âoeintercepting deviceâ means any device or apparatus which is capable of transmitting, receiving, amplifying, or recording a wire or oral communication other than a hearing aid or similar device which is being used to correct subnormal hearing to normal and other than any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment, facility, or a component thereof, (a) furnished to a subscriber or user by a communications common carrier in the ordinary course of its business under its tariff and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business; or (b) being used by a communications common carrier in the ordinary course of its business.

Interesting. Looks like if he'd used the record app on his iPhone, subsection 3a would have applied, and he would not have been using an intercepting device...

Re:If he'd used an iPhone... (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379009)

Does the ear constitute a "device"? :-)

Re:If he'd used an iPhone... (1)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379357)

It might get messy if you start to consider your brain as a long-term audio storage device.

Re:If he'd used an iPhone... (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379057)

3. The term âoeintercepting deviceâ means any device or apparatus which is capable of transmitting, receiving, amplifying, or recording a wire or oral communication other than a hearing aid or similar device which is being used to correct subnormal hearing to normal and other than any telephone or telegraph instrument, equipment, facility, or a component thereof, (a) furnished to a subscriber or user by a communications common carrier in the ordinary course of its business under its tariff and being used by the subscriber or user in the ordinary course of its business; or (b) being used by a communications common carrier in the ordinary course of its business.

Interesting. Looks like if he'd used the record app on his iPhone, subsection 3a would have applied, and he would not have been using an intercepting device...

No - under (3a), the iPhone would be exempt if used "in the ordinary course of [the business of a communications common carrier]" - i.e. as a phone. This exception was included so that people wouldn't get in trouble for using a public payphone while people had loud conversations nearby. Using the iPhone as a recording device would not be in the ordinary course of AT&T's business, so 3a wouldn't apply.

Now, as for being fine, here's the important part:

Police arrested a man they say caused a disturbance at a Honda dealership and who, it was later discovered, had been recording the exchange with a voice recorder in his pocket.

All that's required in Massachusetts is that you inform the other party they're being recorded. He didn't need their consent. Had he said "I'm recording this," then there would have been no problem there.

Re:Wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379105)

If the states have all these laws against wiretapping, why aren't these states suing AT&T/NSA/Bush?

Ohhh, THAT'S [wikipedia.org] why.

Prohibits the individual states from investigating, sanctioning of, or requiring disclosure by complicit telecoms or other persons.

Thanks Obama! (and all the other asshats that voted for it).

Re:Wiretapping? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378987)

If I carry an old Casette Deck around with me and Record everything on a bus ride - is that considered Wire Tapping?

It is in Illinois.

They need to at least rename the law because I would have thought recording a conversation albeit discreetly would not be considered wire-tapping.

There are a LOT of misnamed laws. How about the PATRIOT act, for example? That POS law is as unamerican and unpatriotic as it gets.

Re:Wiretapping? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379367)

What do you expect from minitruth (Ministry of Truth, for those who have not read 1984)

Seriously, anyone know the other 11 states? (-1, Redundant)

DrEnter (600510) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378693)

The subject says it all... Anyone know what all 12 of these states are?

!wiretap (4, Insightful)

VisiX (765225) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378707)

Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

IMHO, it doesn't make sense that it can be illegal to record a conversation that you are part of since you have been explicitly granted access to the information (the guy is F@#$ing talking to you).

Re:!wiretap (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378857)

Why can't the legal system use common sense.

Because it's controlled by lawyers, politicians, and the wealthy. Common sense, from a common citizen's perspective, will never be an emergent property from such a system.

Re:!wiretap (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379223)

Because it's controlled by lawyers, politicians, and the wealthy.

Why'd you waste your time typing out all three words when any one by itself would have covered it?

Re:!wiretap (5, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378871)

The law never uses the term wiretap: Interception of wire and oral communications [mass.gov] . Lawmakers can hardly be held responsible for the logical consequences of what other people choose to call things after the fact.

Re:!wiretap (5, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378937)

Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

The law in question is Chapter 272: Section 99. "Interception of wire and oral communications".
So, yeah, the legal system doesn't always use common sense, but this isn't a great example for you.

Also, you propose "unlawful recording without consent" - that's not right either. Massachusetts doesn't require consent to be recorded, just knowledge. So I can say to you "I'm recording this conversation," and you can say, "no, I don't consent, turn off the recorder," and it's irrelevant. I can keep recording and I can use the recording in any way I see fit. Your consent is immaterial.

Re:!wiretap (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379027)

I record all conversations! You've been warned! There - now I'm totally covered! Posted on the internet for all to see. I'm not responsible for your lack of ability to find it...

Re:!wiretap (1)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379097)

I'm not responsible for your lack of ability to find it...

(this is not legal advice and you are not an attorney)

Re:!wiretap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379133)

I'm not responsible for your lack of ability to find it...

If you get modded away, you are :-)

How is that not right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379035)

Please, I would love to hear the logic that says that recording a conversation, which you are participant to, is unethical or immoral in any religion. That's total bullshit.

I guess typing such a conversation, verbatim, is not right too?

Can't have accountability from businesses and politicians, can we now?

Re:!wiretap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379003)

I don't know about other states, but in Kentucky the statutes (KRS 526) would refer to this as "eavesdropping". (Technically they really don't, since KY is a one-party consent state, but you get the point.)

Re:!wiretap (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379075)

Why can't the legal system use common sense. Simply recording something is not the same as a wiretap. A wiretap implies access to conversations through some sort of technological loophole or exploit and is usually long term. If this is to be illegal then the law should refer to unlawful recording without consent.

IMHO, it doesn't make sense that it can be illegal to record a conversation that you are part of since you have been explicitly granted access to the information (the guy is F@#$ing talking to you).

And this would conceivably create the situation where a private citizen in a dispute with another citizen could compel him to do the old James Bond villain monologue where he outlines everything with a fucking cherry on top and then the judge throws it out as inadmissible.

How about if someone leaves a death threat on an answering machine? Could that be considered consensual because the caller knows he's talking to a machine? What if he says he thought it was the real guy because he leaves one of those cute outgoing messages where he says "Hello? Hello?" acting like he's there.

About the only legitimate problem I can see with sekrit taping (i.e. law enforcement isn't involved) is the possibility of fabrication in this day and age. How hard is it to fake someone's voice on a tape? I know I can't trust my lying eyes with photoshop anymore. Of course, you can't really trust the cops either. Times past the cops would throw a baggie of MJ in your car. I wonder what they'll be able to cook up in the future? "Look, there you are on this tape of the armed robbery. A man's dead and you're holding the gun!"

Re:!wiretap (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379261)

And this would conceivably create the situation where a private citizen in a dispute with another citizen could compel him to do the old James Bond villain monologue where he outlines everything with a fucking cherry on top and then the judge throws it out as inadmissible.

Actually when private citizens do that sort of stuff it's not thrown out as inadmissible unless they were doing it at the behest of the police. If I break into your house of my own accord and discover your pot grow operation/collection of body parts/captive sex slaves I can report what I've seen to the police and the evidence is admissible. If the police suggest that I should break into your house to discover this evidence then it won't be admissible.

I might wind up getting charged with breaking and entering and/or trespassing but that doesn't change the fact that you'll be going to jail.

Odious (4, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378757)

Having such a recorder might be potentially important for memory impaired people on details and for the strong oral promises of con artists later denied.

Re:Odious (3, Funny)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378923)

.... and for the strong oral promises of con artists later denied.

You mean, like...politicians?

Re:Odious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379071)

Then all you have to do is tell the other person you are recording it. If they don't like it, you can leave. It's not that difficult.

Possesing a device for wiretapping? (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378951)

I guess anyone carrying a sandwich could be accused of carrying a potential murder weapon since you could suffocate someone with one.

Nuts and bolts = nuclear weapon technology

Mouldy cucumber = biowarfare device

It seems the garage got sloppy in not charging him with DMCA violation since the recorder could be used for that too.

Off the Record (1)

mauriceh (3721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29378997)

I believe the point of these laws is to preserve a persons right to say something "anonymously".
Often referred to as "off the record".

Just as in now when I post this, I have the choice to click on the "Post Anonymously" checkbox.

Re:Off the Record (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379053)

If that's the case then at least fucking hide your identity! This was an in person, face to face thing. Sorry your cover is blown!

Re:Off the Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379239)

No, there are times when one does NOT want to be the "voice from the back of the room".

You're just grasping at straws, you're wrong btw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379189)

The problem with your reasoning is that these laws apply to everybody, and not just politicians, insiders, whistleblowers, etc.

Have a cheating spouse you want to divorce? You can't record a damning telephone call without his/her consent. It's true that such a cheater would be much more careful about when they pick up their cell phone or what they say.

Still why ban such recording? The pros strongly outweigh the cons. You can still make anonymous calls from payphones. Or use a tracphone. Or maybe the market can come with something that distorts your voice, like say a voice scrambler?

You could even use an anonymous letter.

Street Cred (2, Interesting)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379037)

As far as I know it's a common practise among police, perhaps worldwide, to try to find out who is a hothead and who isn't. When a cop is called to a dispute or fight, not always but often, s/he will ask each participant a few pointed, even brusque questions. Those who answer the questions calmly and act in a restrained manner are usually given the benefit of the doubt in terms of who started or heightened the altercation. Those who respond to a cops questions antagonistically, and/or don't calm down, are usually seen as hotheads and tend to get the shitty end of the stick. If you're stupid enough to react to a cop aggressively rather than addressing any wrongs later through the courts or a police complaints board then you're likely gonna get charges laid against you that otherwise might be let go.

Street sense isn't just how not to get robbed and beaten in the wrong part of town, it's also how to deal with cops when things are going bad. Street sense in today's world is as necessary to basic existence as a high school diploma, although I wouldn't suggest going onto any "higher" centres of learning.

Not that odd (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379113)

It's not all that odd. Privacy is kind of nice.

I'd hate it if companies were constantly recording conversations without telling me. Of course, they all still record, but at least they have to tell me.

It also forces police to get a warrant instead of nicely asking someone I'm about to call to record it.

Expectable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29379159)

Is expectable a word? Anyway, if it's illegal to record someone without their consent, and this guy did that, why is it so strange that he was charged with it?

So... news reporters (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#29379345)

When they film a blurb on-location, do they have permission from every individual who may be heard on the mike? Even those a block away? That could be hundreds of people.
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