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In Mass., Recording an Arrest May Get You Arrested

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posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 02:53 PM

Civil libertarians have pitted themselves against Massachusetts police in a battle over citizens' right to record on-duty police officers [2], reports the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. The police are abusing a state surveillance law, they say, and thwarting accountability.

On one side stand people like Jon Surmacz. Inspired by videos seen on YouTube, he used his cell phone to record Boston police officers using what he thought was unnecessary force to break up a party. Next thing he knew, he was arrested and charged with illegal surveillance.

Police, on the other hand, say that being recorded without their consent is a violation of privacy rights and the law. Massachusetts is one of 12 states that require all parties in a conversation to consent to being recorded.

In 2001, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-2 to uphold the illegal-wiretapping conviction of a man who secretly recorded an encounter with police in 1998. The chief justice dissented, saying: "Citizens have a particularly important role to play when the official conduct at issue is that of the police. Their role cannot be performed if citizens must fear criminal reprisals when they seek to hold government officials responsible by recording, secretly recording on occasion, an interaction between a citizen and a police officer."

Are privacy rights applicable when a public servant is performing their duty for/with/on the citizenry that pays their salary?

Many work places video every minute an employee is on the clock. Should LEOs be exempt?

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 02:59 PM
I wonder of Mass. uses traffic cameras and cctv in state buildings? That would seem to be illegal surveillance also. I don't see how they can get by with this BS. On a public street you are in the public arena,and subject to photography. Ask the National Inquirer!!!!

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 03:06 PM
I think the first amendment is pretty clear about this. Freedom of press extends to all information gathering in public places. Whether the camera belongs to NBC4 or a guy with a youtube channel, it shouldn't matter.

Then again the Constitution means nothings.

posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 03:14 PM
If the Constitution means nothing well.

I know what is 2nd best!


I bet that means something still.

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