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Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-forgot-to-mention dept.

Privacy 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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It's still illegal in Illinois (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302668)

It doesn't break Federal law, but it may be against state law. Recording someone without their consent is a felony in Illinois, and probably other states as well.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (2, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302716)

Not in TN (and it shouldn't be, IMO).

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302832)

it shouldn't be, IMO

I agree. I call it the "liar's law". Of course, with the dirty politics we have in Illinois, it's no wonder legislators don't want their words held against them.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302994)

Illinois doesn't have a monopoly on dirty politics. They're just much worse there at hiding it.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (2, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303026)

Blago's getting only 5 years for what he did.

No, Illinois, you've guys have turned dirty pool into stagecraft.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

Unequivocal (155957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303144)

Blago's max sentence is 5 years for his first (and hopefully not last) conviction. In reality he'll probably be sentenced to a year and do less. At least that's what I've been reading in the papers..

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303292)

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, but their voices are suppressed by tyranny of the majority (i.e. they are outvoted).

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303586)

It's up to 5 years, and he's likely going to be convicted on at least some of those other charges when it goes back for retrial. Despite his characterization as having beaten it, more likely from what I've read the defense just managed to luck out on jury selection and get enough people that were less politically sophisticated and couldn't tell the difference between political talk and corrupt deal making.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (3, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303690)

I don't think the old lady who was the lone holdout was "less politically sophisticated". My bet is she was a life-long straight-party-ticket voter. There's a lot of people out there (on both sides) who think that anything is OK as long as their party is the one that's doing it. "He may be a crook, but he's OUR crook"

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303554)

Indeed, Florida and Louisiana also seem to make the news all to frequently for it as well. Unfortunately, it's a matter of degrees, from the kind of lying we've come to expect from politicians to bribery and kick backs. I'd be a liar if I suggested that where I'm from is completely clean of it, we've got sunshine laws and have taken steps to take away a lot of the power from the political parties for that very reason, but you're never going to completely eliminate the corruption, just make it difficult enough that it's not a significant concern.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303072)

It isn't the legislators, it's the police... the most scared I've ever heard a police officer was when he was threatening to press wiretap charges (Class 4 Felony) if someone was recording the conversation.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303456)

wow

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303440)

I call it the "liar's law".

That's soft-pedaling it. I call the "Protection of corrupt politicians and law enforcement act" ;-)

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303638)

Playing devil's advocate, I can see a legitimate reason to require both parties to consent to record a conversation.

Sherrod at USDA was a victim of an edited recording being released to the public, eventually an unedited version was released by the NAACP which hired the camera man. Unfortunately for her the damage was already done.

Two-party consent allows the party without the recorder a chance to specify the terms of the recording (eg. I would like an immediate copy of the tape), the chance to make his/her own recording of the conversation, or refuse and leave.

Everyone in the conversation so far assumes that the tape will be used in its original condition to catch a liar, but nobody thought about an edited version of the recording portraying an honest person as a liar.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

JxcelDolghmQ (1827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303944)

Moar like FAILinois, amirite?

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

jte (707188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303024)

Nor NY - and glad of it.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303412)

heard that.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302754)

also, I imagine this ruling could be used in arguments to strike down that law via the court system.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302802)

Not at all. The court did not rule that the wiretapping law prohibited the recording but that prohibition was unconstitutional, or that Congress couldn't prohibit it; what they ruled was that the law just didn't prohibit it in the first place. (At least based on TFA and a search in the opinion for "Constitution", which doesn't appear.)

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303432)

hrm.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33302790)

We can only hope that the Federal courts can overrule this, at least on the fact of intended use.

Trying to use it to blackmail, yeah, bad. You're trying to use it in commission of a crime. PMITA prison.

Trying to use it to CYA, especially in a "He Said, She Said situation", can be the only way to protect yourself. Moreso if the other party is the police, who are given a higher degree of trust on account of their position. Ironically, seems like protecting yourself can get you more prison time than a false charge.

Just like with any other rights, there of course have to be responsibilities, and a good line to define proper recording and usage, especially considering private conversations. But when most wiretapping and recording laws seem to be geared towards saving corrupt politician bacon rather than the rights of their constituents, I have little love for them.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303362)

My main concern is the ability to record cops while I'm being questioned. I need that protection.

COP: "Sir turn off that recorder."
ME: "Why? So you can beat me up, like the other cops I've seen on youtube beating innocent citizens?"

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303670)

My main concern is the ability to record cops while I'm being questioned. I need that protection.

COP: "Sir turn off that recorder."
ME: "Why? So you can beat me up, like the other cops I've seen on youtube beating innocent citizens?"

So you are okay with cops beating non-innocent citizens and non-citizens? I don't think you meant it that way. You probably just meant cops beating people.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1, Troll)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303694)

I'm sorry, but if that's how you talk to cops, you kind of deserve whatever happens to you. You never argue with a police officer, ever. If you disagree there's a venue to handle that, it's called court. And you're even allowed to have an adviser that we like to call a lawyer help you out there. Arguing with cops whether you're ultimately right or not isn't going to do you any favors, LEOs generally have some degree of discretion. It also can very easily come back to bite you on the ass when they start looking more closely at what you're doing, there's no law against them being particularly stringent in writing every applicable ticket or citation that applies to the situation. Just stick to the facts, comply with what you're told to do and if anything happens you can always take it to court.

People don't generally end up being beaten that are complying with the orders they've been given. Sure it happens, but it's hardly a common occurrence.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303932)

That's good for the white folks, but what happens when you aren't white?

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303874)

My main concern is the ability to record cops while I'm being questioned. I need that protection.

COP: "Sir turn off that recorder."
ME: "Why? So you can beat me up, like the other cops I've seen on youtube beating innocent citizens?"

And then you get beat up for being "aggressive," "disrupting the peace," "looking at me funny, pal." Also, they take away your recording device and claim you never had one.

It's a no-win situation nowadays, unless you have somebody else covering you with another recorder.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

gzearfoss (829360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302844)

What's notable about this case is that Connecticut (where the incident took place) is a 'two-party consent' state, at least for recording phone calls. This incident took place face-to-face, which prevented the state laws from coming in to play.

A question for those with more knowledge of the legal system: Can this be used as precedent against two-party consent laws for call recording?

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (2, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303864)

I'm surprised the Connecticut laws woudln't apply to face-to-face conversations; most states' intercept laws apply equally to any conversation.

In any case, this ruling doesn't really change anything. The court's finding is taken almost verbatim from the statute, so it's pretty much nonsense that a federal lawsuit - much less a federal appeal - was ever filed in the first place.

This is not a case where federal law can be used to "trump" state law. If the U.S. Congress passed a law that said "it is legal to record any conversation to which you are a party", then that might trump state all-party consent laws; but the current statute doesn't say that. It only says that recording a conversation to which you're a party isn't a violation of that specific title of the federal statutes. This is not in direct conflict with a state law of which such a recording is a violation.

I believe there are 12 all-party consent states, and some of them claim jurisdiction even for interstate phone calls if one party is in their state. Given the reality of modern telecommunication (cell phones), this ought to be unified under federal statute IMO, and I'd be quite happy to see a universal 1-party consent system.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (2, Interesting)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302944)

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.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303054)

yes, illinois is a 2 party state. however, can someone please put this wording into accurate sense?

Are they saying that it's not illegal if you're recording someone committing a tort? The way the news article was worded seems confusing to me. Can someone translate for me?

" 'The defendant must have the intent to use the illicit recording to commit a tort of crime beyond the act of recording itself," Isn't committing a tort a wrong?

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (3, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303472)

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.

Which is like saying it's perfectly legal to drive your car unless you intend to commit a drive-by shooting, in which case driving your car is completely and totally against the law.

The act becomes retroactively illegal based on subsequent illegal acts--or plans to commit illegal acts--which is just stupid.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303964)

But driving a car isn't invading someone else's privacy. Recording them without their knowledge in a situation where they have an expectation of privacy is.

See, this is why we have courts and case law. So we can focus on the case and not make ourselves crazy with wild speculation about different cases.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303752)

And that legal theory applied in many scenarios and is, IMNSHO, fucking retarded. The blackmail is already illegal. We don't need to make the means by which the blackmail was facilitated illigel. An act btw, that we already admit is NOT actually a crime in and of itself. It is this legal manuvuering that allows the legal system to pile on bullshit charges in an effort to force defendants to plead out because the sum of the charges, all stemming from only the only "real crime" of blackmail (in this example), are so huge that no one would ever risk going to court and losing. However without that single real crime, there would be no crimal charges at all. Disclaimer: No this has never happened to me, I simply believe it is wrong.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303132)

It depends on the nature of the conversation. Usually there's a clause where the other party must have a reasonable expectation of privacy. So while recording a phone conversation will get you busted, recording a conversation out in the middle of the street will not. Some states say that only one party needs to consent (the recorder, generally), some say that both parties must consent.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303342)

Nope, recording a person is not illegal in Illinois or any state "if done for legitimate purposes" (RTFA) such as a hearing against you. Telling them is not required as they might not state their side of the issue aloud if they know their being recorded.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

mshmgi (710435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303364)

I know for certain that it's illegal in NH as well.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303392)

Last time I checked, it was legal in 39 states, illegal in 11. That was a couple of years ago.

Re:It's still illegal in Illinois (1)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303602)

I love that exemption to federal wiretapping law. It's a good thing.

Why?

If I call Citi Bank resolving an issue, then I find out later that it wasn't and they bring me to court, I can use the record of the phone call(with my one party consent) as evidence in my favor.

In fact, there should be federal and state exemptions for this law. Call it the Legal Matters Clause. The clause would allow for one party consent in any case that a legal matter is discussed. All phone calls to a company about a product or service falls under contract law, and matters of will fall under laws regarding the transfer of assets.

I fully agree with the judges decision on this matter. Wiretapping laws were meant to prevent people recording me doing mundane or private acts, not discussing a legal matter.

Most states already have an "either party" statute (3, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302688)

... 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".

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (3, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302732)

There are twelve 2-party states out there, and some of them are big ones like California and Florida. And calling a two-party state from a one-party state does mean you need to follow the laws of both states.

Check your local rules before you start recording.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302768)

Actually wouldn't that fall under the domain of the Feds considering it is interstate?

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303410)

I think the laws of all three would apply (Feds and both States).

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302778)

And calling a two-party state from a one-party state does mean you need to follow the laws of both states.

I'm pretty sure that would fall under Federal jurisdiction.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (2)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302794)

There are twelve 2-party states out there, and some of them are big ones like California and Florida. And calling a two-party state from a one-party state does mean you need to follow the laws of both states.

IANAL, but couldn't you only be criminally prosecuted in the state you broke the law in though?

Supposed I call CA from TN and record the conversation. I couldn't be criminally charged in TN as I broke no law there. If charges were brought in CA then that would be irrelevant if I never actually went there right? Afterall that seems about as likely as being tried in China for me posting an account of what happened at Tienanmen Square. Sure it was against the law there, but I'm not there, so it's irrelevant.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (4, Informative)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302834)

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.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33302956)

I admin phone systems in several states, including both 1 and 2 party states, and I hate to tell you this but you're breaking the law. You're not breaking Ohio law, but you're breaking the laws in the 2 party states. You could technically be extradited, but it's unlikely. However, do you really want a bench warrant issued against you in each of a dozen states?

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302996)

He never said he did. He said he CAN.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (2, Interesting)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws [wikipedia.org] 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."

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (3, Informative)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303124)

He said calls from two party states not calls to two party states.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303622)

It's not so cut and dried as that. As far as I can tell, there's a whole lot of ambiguity regarding calls between one-party and two-party states. No one really knows how a challenge would shake out. http://www.rcfp.org/taping/interstate.html [rcfp.org]

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303060)

Perhaps. But if your users dial into a two-party state, like California, and record without consent, the recording is probably made illegally.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303050)

If you called California from TN and recorded the conversation without the consent of the other party, you could be charged under CA law. If you were convicted, CA could request that TN extradite you to CA. I do not know of any case where one state has refused another state's extradition request.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303906)

If you called California from TN and recorded the conversation without the consent of the other party, you could be charged under CA law. If you were convicted, CA could request that TN extradite you to CA. I do not know of any case where one state has refused another state's extradition request.

Absolutely false - they need to extradite you first, THEN you have a trial. Not going to happen too often. So if you're in a one-party jurisdiction, record away, now that federal law outweighs the 2-party state laws for inter-state communications.

"quality control" (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302796)

Just announce at the beginning of your conversation that the call may be recorded for quality control purposes.

Re:"quality control" (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303480)

"I'm sorry sir. But the your heavy breathing, grunting and assorted orgasmic noises don't measure up to our minimum requirements for a prank call."

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302884)

There are generally exceptions in two-party consent states when recording calls without the consent of the other party if it is reasonably expected to retain evidence of a crime such as harassment or blackmail. In other words, it's generally okay to tape record a prankcaller or blackmailer without their consent.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303106)

Is this lawyer advice or "I hope the law is reasonable" advice because the latter tends to rarely be correct, sad as that may be.

Re:Most states already have an "either party" stat (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303202)

My understanding is that this ruling didn't cover phone conversations, as the incident in question took place face to face. As in, the guy set his iPhone into Voice Memo mode, and did his business with the other guy.

Recording police? (1)

Manfre (631065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302700)

I wonder if this means it is still illegal to record police in public...since some cities have laws against that.

Re:Recording police? (4, Informative)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302970)

It's never been illegal to record police in public. That hasn't stopped certain corrupt police departments and district attorneys from persecuting people who do so, of course, but they've used twisted logic, not actual law, to make their cases. Radley Balko at Reason has done a number of excellent exposes on this problem.

Re:Recording police? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302988)

I wonder if this means it is still illegal to record police in public...since some cities have laws against that.

Hell, does this pave the way to just simply record everyone in public, all of the the time, and just say you no longer have any real expectation of privacy anymore?

Man, Orwell had so much stuff right it makes me want to cry some days.

Re:Recording police? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303016)

How do you have an expectation of privacy when you're in public? Do you go around waving your arms and yelling "Don't look at me!"

Re:Recording police? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303146)

Do you go around waving your arms and yelling "Don't look at me!"

      Nah he figures he'll get much less attention by going around wearing a ski mask.

Re:Recording police? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303294)

Nah he figures he'll get much less attention by going around wearing a ski mask.

Oh, come now, it's a Luchadore mask and tights. :-P

But, seriously, unless you are being recorded (both audio and visual), conducting business in plain sight in a crowded area has long been considered to be about as private as you can get without being conspicuous about it. You're about as anonymous as you can get -- unless you are truly being tailed that is.

I was specifically talking about blanket recording of everything everybody does in public and the possibility that everybody should assume everything they say, ever, is recorded.

Re:Recording police? (2, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303198)

How do you have an expectation of privacy when you're in public? Do you go around waving your arms and yelling "Don't look at me!"

I expect that I can be seen. But, if I'm in a park and move away from everybody in order to discuss something out of earshot of everybody else, I don't expect that it would be legal for all of the trees to be simply recording everything that happens on the off beat chance somebody, at some time is doing something shady/illegal.

Privacy doesn't mean that I get to walk around with an invisible cloak and nobody will ever know I'm there. It means being able to take reasonable steps to ensure that the conversation you're engaged in is only heard by the parties involved. Being out of ear shot of a 3rd party is a reasonable expectation that the content of the conversation is private.

Re:Recording police? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303354)

The same logic applies (or should apply) to video recordings. If you are doing it in public, where it can be seen, it can be photographed, so long as the technology doesn't surpass the capabilities of a casual observer* (telephoto lenses, etc.). So if you are sitting in Starbucks, yakking with your freinds, if the guy in the next booth can hear you, why not record you?

If you 'move away', that's another matter.

*I've done some work with private detectives and this is the standard that courts apply to video recordings used as evidence.

Re:Recording police? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303530)

I don't agree. Secluded locations in public are still in public. It's not an unreasonably burden to take your conversation onto private property, out of view/earshot of the public, and a failure to do so suggests that you don't care that anyone else heard your conversation, or at least don't care enough to make it truly private.

For example, you wander off into the trees to get some "privacy" in public. But unbeknownst to you, someone else already wandered into those same trees and is dictating their thoughts into an audio recording device. During a lull in their dictation, you approach them and have your "private" conversation. Are you suggesting that their recording of your conversation would not be legal because you expected privacy in a secluded portion of a public area? Or that the person already in the trees must announce themselves or stop their recording?

Re:Recording police? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303168)

Practically makes me want to drown my sorrows in synthetic Victory Gin while I try to keep the tobacco in my last Victory Cigarette, while sitting just out of range of the telescreen of course. Orwell got more than a few things wrong too, and pretty much every dystopian novel got at least a few things right.

Re:Recording police? (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303592)

Orwell got more than a few things wrong too ...

Give it time.

Re:Recording police? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303736)

Hell, does this pave the way to just simply record everyone in public, all of the the time, and just say you no longer have any real expectation of privacy anymore?

If you are IN PUBLIC you already have zero expectation of privacy, the SCOTUS has confirmed this previously, not sure why you are surprised...

Homer says... (2)

brainproxy (654715) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302788)

Mmmmmm... Crime Torte

Useful against telemarketers (2, Insightful)

KnightBlade (1074408) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302866)

So I can record those spam calls from telemarketers!

I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (3, Insightful)

anglico (1232406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302930)

There are way too many people lying and getting away with it nowadays, politicians or otherwise. Do I want all my conversations recorded, no, but I've tried to live with the motto of "Say what you mean and mean what you say". I wont say anything about someone unless I am willing to say it to their face and I think that is something missing from society today. I've had instances where a recorded conversation would have come in very handy in defending myself from ex girlfriend's attacks but it wasn't that big of a deal to me.

Re:I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303080)

Do I want all my conversations recorded, no, but I've tried to live with the motto of "Say what you mean and mean what you say". I wont say anything about someone unless I am willing to say it to their face and I think that is something missing from society today.

It's not about what you say about someone. It's about friggin' thoughtcrime.

"Are you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party? Are you a homosexual? Do you disagree with the policies of the current government?"

Sometimes, allowing people to record everything you do isn't about catching liars, as it is about controlling what you do. There's all sorts of ways that allowing recording without any restrictions might cause all sorts of legal issues.

It also throws open the door for massively widespread government surveillance without any warrants or oversight, because it's clearly legal to just go ahead and do it. God knows how many more even broader interpretations will be contrived by people with enough motivation to give themselves permission to do something.

Re:I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303314)

Agreed that's why the Government shouldn't be able to record every conversation I have. However, if I'm having a conversation with another private party (or hell, maybe even the Government), I should be able to record said conversation, at the very least for note taking purposes, and at the worst for a CYA measure. In the former case, a courtesy notice that I am recording would be nice, and probably expected. I'm not so sure about the latter.

Re:I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303398)

Agreed that's why the Government shouldn't be able to record every conversation I have.

The problem is, we've already seen what happens when the Government is the only one prohibited from doing this.

There's all sorts of information the government isn't allowed to gather domestically without running afoul of something. The problem is, they merely buy the information from a corporate entity, and the whole thing becomes legal.

What used to be the "poisoned well" is now the drinking fountain.

So, what stops the CIA from forming a shell company whose job it is to install surveillance audio everywhere, buy the data, and the do a wide-scale domestic spying program?

When technology gets out ahead of laws, that's exactly what happens. If you think it couldn't/wouldn't/hasn't happen ... well, I don't agree with that conclusion. You have but to look at warrantless wiretapping to know damned well it will.

Re:I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (1)

anglico (1232406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303460)

But I don't really say anything that I'd care about coming back to haunt me. Granted right now we live in a semi-free speech society, and that could change but I still can't see a real problem with it.

Now to address the other part of your post concerning the government's surveillance, how about if it is going to be initiated for Law enforcement then restrictions should be in place, like warrants etc... So if a cop or federal agent comes to your house to talk to you about your recent postings online they have to tell you that it is being recorded or something similar to that.

Obviously there are going to be problems with abuse and such but it just doesn't seem to be stopping the government anyway.

Re:I don't think it should be illegal anywhere! (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303108)

Let's say we have a conversation. I record it. I pull an Andrew Breitbart on it and make it sound like you want to murder your wife/employer/boyfriend/husband/mechanic and make it a credible threat and then I play it for them. That may ruin your life. Over a recording you didn't want to happen.

iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (5, Insightful)

rosvall (672559) | more than 3 years ago | (#33302958)

Why is it important that the recording was performed with this particular device?
Are these kinds of rulings specific to the equipment used, or is this just the kind of story that needs buzzwords to get attention from certain demographics?

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303134)

The fact that it was recorded on an iPhone brings the reader's impression of the event down from 'police-organized sting operation' to 'anybody could be recording any conversation at any time'.

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303574)

Back in the 1970s my dad had a magnetic pickup with a suction cup that we could stick on our hefty Bell System phone. When plugged into our Radio Shack portable cassette recorder, we could touch upon these exact same legal issues, almost 40 years before this iPhone app!

But I guess that due to the reality distortion field, none of that really ever happened. None of this was logically possible before the iPhone App Store. Thanks to the iPhone, my childhood has vanished; it never existed at all. Now I feel like a lost character in a Twilight Zone episode.

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303596)

... is this just the kind of story that needs buzzwords to get attention from certain demographics?

Ding, ding, ding! It gets past the Slashdot geekgasm filter.

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303870)

Why is it important that the recording was performed with this particular device?

It's unique because the iPhone owner will have notified everyone that they have an iPhone, but not necessarily that it's being used to record the conversation. It's like 1 & 1/2 party consent.

Re:iphone, iphone, iphone, iphone... (2, Informative)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303876)

Why is it important that the recording was performed with this particular device?

It isn't. It's a WIRED-vertisement, and now a slashvertisement as well.

One thing; (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303018)

Who gets to decide what "legitimate" means in this scenario? If it's left up to the judge and jury, surely it's already been admitted as evidence and is therefore legitimate by definition?

Re:One thing; (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303058)

It's already decided in the decision. So long as you don't use it to commit a crime, it's legitimate.

Re:One thing; (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303120)

Reduntantly recursive recidivism? Now there's an app for that!

Re:One thing; (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303376)

The ruling, from what I understand of the summary, is saying that the act of covert recording in and of itself is not a criminal act. It says nothing about admissibility of said recordings in other cases, merely that you cannot be charged solely for having made a covert recording.

It's still illegal in Maryland too (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303164)

Google "Anthony Graber" to see the result of recording audio without the consent of all parties...

Re:It's still illegal in Maryland too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33303836)

To save everyone some time and since the point you brought up is rather important, here's a good link [time.com] . Somewhere else I saw that is trial is scheduled for October of this year, so we can't actually see the full result. Since the Maryland AG has come out as saying this was not a private conversation (required for the law as written in MD), I think he'll stand a good chance of getting off on that charge, but then again, IANAL.

Feetch! (4, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 3 years ago | (#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! (2, Interesting)

pruss (246395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303384)

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! (2, Interesting)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Feetch! (2, Insightful)

joeyblades (785896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303728)

As far as recording calls, it's actually much simpler than this. All that is required for recording in two party states is a regular interval beep. Why not make the capability available to all and just insert the beeps?

Now if you want to secretly record, that's different...

A guy once told me that he secretly recorded all of his calls so he could catch people in lies... I told him that he should just tell everyone he was recording and then people would be less likely to lie in the first place. Better to get the truth up front than to try and sort through lies. So to that end, I want an app that inserts regular interval beeps into my conversation so people think they are being recorded.

This Will Make Mel Gibson Happy (1)

Tootech (1865028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303640)

Well I wonder how Ml will like this, His Lawyers have said that she recorded him and then asked for money and said it was extorsion. She recorded him using her IPhone ( and I am guessing using this app ) when he/she were talking on the phone, she claims she did it cause she felt threatend. Now those tapes were supposed to be sealed but as we all know they " leaked " out. So I wonder if this desicion would efect his case as there seems to be some similarties. I wonder why Apple would let an app like that thru the app store. I also wonder if the app creator or apple could have some culpability if someone took them to task as well as the phone owner for allowing them to record someones conversationwithout there knowledge. I also was under the impression you couldn't recored someone without telling them you are doing so, and if you did it was illegal and not admissable in court...I see a lot more of these cases coming down the pipe I think..

State laws (1)

jam244 (701505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33303646)

While this seems like a good thing, it doesn't sound like it overrides more stringent laws in 2-party consent states like Massachusetts. Basically, this doesn't allow blanket covert recording for non-criminal purposes; state-by-state restrictions still apply. Am I wrong?
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