Politics

Proposed Illinois Law Would Ban Filming Police, After State Court Ruled It Legal

| by Michael Allen

Earlier this year, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which banned recording another person's words without his or her consent.

The 1961 law was used by authorities to stop people from filming incidents with police and elected officials.

According to Reuters, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in March that the law was overly broad and violated free speech. The court said the decades-old law had criminalized recording public conversations such as arguments, political debates and fans at ball games.

In November of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that blocked enforcement of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act.

However, the Illinois General Assembly recently passed a bill that could criminalize recording people in public, which would prevent citizens from filming the police.

Illinois Policy reports that the bill would make it a felony to record any “private conversation,” which is “oral communication between 2 or more persons” in which one person had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy.

The bill doesn't define “reasonable expectation” of privacy, which would leave it wide open for law enforcement to use against citizens who record them.

The bill carries a two- to four-year prison term if a person records law enforcement, but only a one- to three-year prison sentence for recording a private citizen.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has not indicated if he will sign it or not.

Sources: Illinois Policy, Reuters / Image Credit: Starscream