Sunday, April 14, 2013

The First Amendment Right to take Images in Public Places

The First Amendment trumps privacy, according to the Department of Justice.


 ACLU of Illinois v. Alvarez, 679 F. 3d 583 (7th Cir. 2012):

 Audio and audiovisual recording are communication technologies,and as such, they enable speech. Criminalizing all nonconsensual audio recording necessarily limits the information that might later be published or broadcast—whether to the general public or to a single family member or friend—and thus burdens First Amendment rights. If as the State’s Attorney would have it,the eavesdropping statute does not implicate the First Amendment at all, the State could effectively control or suppress speech by the simple expedient of restricting an early step in the speech process rather than the end result. We have no trouble rejecting that premise.Audio recording is entitled to First Amendment protection.


 Supreme Court Upholds Legality of Videotaping Police :

Many states, however, including Illinois, have “all-party consent” law, which means all parties to a conversation must agree to being recorded before recording it can be done. But in all of those states — except for Massachusetts and Illinois — the laws include a provision that the parties being recorded must have a reasonable expectation of privacy for it to be a crime to record them. Since police do not have an expectation of privacy while they are doing their work on the public street, video or audio recording of a police officers would not be banned.

The Illinois legislature took out “the reasonable expectation of privacy” exception specifically to make it illegal to videotape police officers. The Illinois law then became one of the most toughest eavesdropping laws in the country. It was often used to arrest people who attempted to record on-duty police officers and other public officials. Of course, it contains an exception to allow law enforcement to record folks without their consent for valid law enforcement purposes. It also exempts broadcasters

David Murphy, 

Geoffrey J.Derrick, Qualified Immunity and the First Amendment Right to Record Police

Recording Police Officers and Public Officials