Federal Court Bans Enforcement of Illinois Eavesdropping Law

Federal Court Bans Enforcement of Illinois Eavesdropping Law

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the Illinois Eavesdropping Act “likely violates” the First Amendment. 

The antiquated law prohibits everyday uses of ubiquitous gadgets that most Americans carry in their pockets, such as cell phones, digital cameras, and video cameras. Where the law becomes confusing for many is that it views audio recording and video recording separately, banning the recording of another individual’s voice in a public or private setting without that individual’s consent, regardless of whether or not the communication/conversation was intended to be private.

Most opponents, including members of the Illinois General Assembly, oppose the law because it also prohibits the recording of police officers. Last month, a bill was voted down in the state house to amend the law and allow people to record police. Illinois Republicans were the leading force behind changing the law.

Even Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has stated publicly that the law seems foreign to him. He points out that as a police officer on duty, you want people to record you as evidence to prove you acted appropriately. Unfortunately, many others in Illinois don’t share that same common sense.

But as reported by Breitbart News, recording police is not the only problem area for the act. Technically, if you pull your phone out of your pocket and start recording video and people talking to you or near you do not give you express consent to record their voice, you are violating the law.

However, after two county courts ruled earlier this year the law is in fact unconstitutional, and the state house refused to amend it, The ACLU’s suit has dealt a major blow to the law after this Chicago federal appeals court ruling. In addition, just last week, the city of Chicago also said that it would not enforce the law during upcoming NATO protests.