Recording Cops = Illegal Wiretapping? First Circuit takes on Glik v. Massachusets

Big things afoot- it's about time the courts cleared up this ridiculous argument:

In 2007, a man named Simon Glik witnessed another man being arrested on the Boston Common. After hearing a witness say, "you are hurting him, stop," Glik pulled out his cell phone to document the encounter. When a police officer confronted him, Glik informed the officer that he had witnessed an officer punch the suspect, and acknowledged that he was recording the incident. The officer responded by arresting Glik.

Many states have "one-party notification" wiretapping laws that allow any party to a conversation to secretly record it. But under the strict "two-party notification" laws in Massachusetts, it's a crime to "secretly record" audio communications unless "all parties to such communication" have given their consent. The police arrested Glik for breaking this law. For good measure, they also charged Glik—who did no more than stand a few feet away with his cell phone—with "aiding the escape of a prisoner" and "disturbing the peace."

The First Circuit's ruling could have broad implications. The United States is in the midst of a heated debate over the legality of recording on-duty police officers. Doing so is unambiguously legal in some states, but under a legal cloud in others. And some police officers have used the threat of arrest to intimidate people into turning their cameras off. The Iacobucci case involved a traditional video camera, but Glik's false-arrest lawsuit gives the First Circuit an opportunity to make clear that the same logic applies to cell phones.

(via Ars Technica)

Here's hoping they do the right thing.