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The Evils of Eavesdropping


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  • The Evils of Eavesdropping

    Here is an interesting story with some possibly far-reaching implications...perhaps it would make for an interesting discussion here?

    SJC upholds conviction of man who secretly taped police
    By Denise Lavoie, Associated Press, 07/13/01

    BOSTON -- The state's highest court on Friday upheld the conviction of a man who secretly recorded police after they pulled him over.

    The Supreme Judicial Court in a split decision ruled that Michael Hyde violated the state's electronic surveillance law, which prohibits secret recordings.

    But in a strongly worded dissent, two justices said the wiretapping statute was not meant to prevent citizens from recording an encounter with police.

    Hyde, a rock musician, said he recorded Abington police because he thought they unfairly targeted him for a traffic stop on Oct. 26, 1998, because of his long hair, leather jacket and his sports car.

    Hyde recorded officers using an obscenity, asking him if he had any cocaine in his car, and threatening to send him to jail.

    Several days later, he brought the tape to police headquarters to try to prove he was harassed. Instead, police charged Hyde with unlawful wiretapping.

    A jury took less than an hour to convict Hyde of breaking the electronic surveillance law. He was sentenced to six months of probation.

    David Yas, publisher of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, said the wiretapping law was established to protect citizens against government oppression.

    "The preamble to the law said electronic devices are a danger to the privacy of all citizens. This case turns that notion on its head because here we had an individual trying to protect himself from a misdeed on thepart of public officials and he's the one who ends up being arrested for it and prosecuted," Yas said.

    [ 07-25-2001: Message edited by: The Blue Line ]
    Kevin Woodside
    The Blue Line: Police Opportunity Monitor Newsletter, Publisher

  • #2
    I hope he sues.


    • #3
      But wouldn't that make dashmounted cameras illegal as well?


      • #4
        Originally posted by Excalibur:
        But wouldn't that make dashmounted cameras illegal as well?
        In Mass., it's illegal to secretly make an audio recording of someone. Video is fair game, and you can make an audio recording so long as it's not secret. If Mr. Hyde had informed the officers that he was recording the conversation, or held the recorder in plain view, he would have been all set.

        The dissenting justices in this case are idiots. They kept bringing up the Rodney King case, saying how that video tape would have never been made public under this ruling....
        I guess you can be too stupid to understand the difference between audio and video, but not too stupid to be a SJC Justice in the state of Mass.!


        • #5
          Ok, what is the difference? Does the officer have to inform the individual that he is being video taped? What about the audio part of the video tape?


          • #6
            Ok, what is the difference?

            Audio is sound, video is pictures.

            Does the officer have to inform the individual that he is being video taped?

            Only if you're recording his voice.

            What about the audio part of the video tape?

            If it was taken secretly, it's illegal.

            Remember that this is a MA decision, and these laws vary from state to state.

            [ 07-26-2001: Message edited by: Jim ]


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