Last week, lawmakers in Illinois passed a bill that would make it a felony to secretly tape any “private conversations.” The bill held steeper punishments for those recording the police.
Critics of the proposed law claim it would scare citizens from recording interactions with law enforcement, following a number of high-profile police killings caught on camera.
The bill was passed by both the State House and Senate, and sent to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Dec. 4. It would criminalize secretly recording “private conversations” between two or more people, where at least one had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy. However, the proposed law would likely not make it illegal to record police interactions in public. Recordings like those depicting the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner would therefore not be affected. The new bill attempts to protect people from surreptitious and improper recording of their conversations without infringing on free-speech rights, its sponsors claim.
“The most important thing the bill does is to restore Illinois to a standard that requires everyone in a private conversation to consent to a recording,” said Democratic Rep. Elaine Nekritz, one of the bill’s sponsors, according to an AP report. “We satisfy the Supreme Court requirement by limiting that to conversations where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The bill was written around an Illinois Supreme Court ruling in March. The March ruling struck down an eavesdropping law that would have made it illegal to record conversations without explicit permission from both parties.
The court had ruled that the state could not make it illegal to record conversations where there was no “reasonable expectation of private.”
The new law does not make a clear distinction between what situations qualify as private encounters, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.
The bill must be signed by the governor before it becomes law.
What do you think of the new proposed law?
Is it another scare tactic that lends itself to the side of police?
Sound off below!