Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ah-HAH! Now THIS makes a lot more sense out of the souveillance controversy!

I would note that the person quoted here, Judge Richard Posner, is considered one of the finest living legal minds of our era.  Also this DOES make the connection, albeit a tenuous one, between Obama and this law... in that Posner is and has been, along with Obama, a professor / senior lecturer on law at the same law school.

Apparently Posner generally is quite respectful of Obama's legal expertise.... but nothing here relates to Illinois political corruption, per se.  Rather it appears to be a new attempt to interpret old law - not old Democratic inspired law - that protected citizens from government wiretapping or individual abuse of surveillance wiretapping.

So, back to where we started......there is nothing - NOTHING -  that makes this corrupt or democratic-linked.  It is the Republicans who have been the most recent egregious violators of our rights with warrant-less wiretaps of Americans, and it is Republicans who are trying to even more restrict the use of video recording by citizens of wrong doing.  It is the left-leaning ACLU that is pushing back against this in the courts, and the left that is pushing back against the legislation.  The right talks - and yells - constantly about 'freedom!!!!' but they do the most to restrict and constrict and outright eliminate our freedom (if you rely on factual evidence).

The 'you must be living under a rock' argument or the 'everybody knows' argument boils down to nothing more than an "well, I don't know any facts, but I want to believe it to be true, and that should be enough."  It is not enough, and it shouldn't be enough for any of you.

Here from the Sun Times is one more post on Souveillance.  I suspect that the reality is that we will need new legislation to address more recent technology. Time for a legal upgrade!  In the meantime, hooray for the ACLU for pushing back against this new interpretation of wiretapping laws, in ALL of the states where they are doing so!

Judge casts doubt on ACLU challenge to law forbidding audio recording of cops

Updated: November 9, 2011 5:50PM
A senior appeals court judge said Tuesday that if Illinois’ eavesdropping law were expanded, gang bangers and “snooping” reporters would run rampant, secretly recording conversations unchecked.
“If you permit the audio recordings, they’ll be a lot more eavesdropping. … There’s going to be a lot of this snooping around by reporters and bloggers,” U.S. 7th Circuit Judge Richard Posner said. “Yes, it’s a bad thing. There is such a thing as privacy.”
Posner, considered one of the most influential jurists on the appeals panel, made his comments Tuesday morning as the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union argued to change current law to make it legal to audio record public officials in public areas.
Right now, it is legal to video record police officials in public areas but it is illegal to audio record them — or anyone else — without their consent, said Illinois ACLU Legal Director Harvey Grossman.
Grossman said the ACLU wants the federal court to issue an injunction preventing the Cook County State’s Attorney from “indicting us when we seek to record the activities and the speech of police officers in public.
“The law in Illinois is an aberration,” Grossman said. “It’s virtually unheard of for law enforcement officers in other states in our country to be able to use eavesdropping laws as a weapon against citizens who seek to do nothing more than record their activities and oral expressions.”
Last month, a 20-year-old Indiana woman was brought to trial on charges that she secretly recorded police officers. The woman, Tiawanda Moore, said she taped internal affairs officers on her Blackberry because they were trying to convince her to not go forward with a sexual harassment complaint.
Moore said she didn’t know about the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which prohibits the recording of any private or public conversations without the consent of all parties.
A jury acquitted her.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney James C. Pullos argued before the three-member appeals panel Tuesday that police officers do have privacy interests while they’re trying to conduct investigations and there shouldn’t be a concern that their discussions could possibly be manipulated and broadcast.
Posner theorized there were possible dangers in changing the law with regard to gang members.
“The gangs who are interested in monitoring each other will rejoice in your case,” Posner told the ACLU.
He said gang members who want to snoop on each other could start secretly recording conversations and say they’re protected because they were taping suspected police informants.
After court, Grossman said the ACLU’s intent is to be able to record in public places. They want the change so protesters, for instance, would have the ability to both audio record and video record police officers and their reactions to those assembling.
The appeals panel will issue a formal written ruling on the matter in upcoming months.


  1. Video Recording Police

    As a judge on the 7th Circuit in Chicago, weighing a challenge to the state’s Eavesdropping Act, which bars the secret recording of conversations without the consent of all the parties to the conversation. At issue was the constitutionality of the Illinois wiretapping law, which makes it illegal to record someone without his consent even when filming public acts like arrests in public. Posner was one of three judges and interrupted the ACLU after just 14 words, stating “Yeah, I know,. But I’m not interested, really, in what you want to do with these recordings of peoples’ encounters with the police.” Posner continued: “Once all this stuff can be recorded, there’s going to be a lot more of this snooping around by reporters and bloggers . . . I’m always suspicious when the civil liberties people start telling the police how to do their business.”

    "Who Watches the Watchmen"

  2. Anon, the material from the footnote, the whole article you posted, was excellent.

    "Who Watches the Watchmen"

    It is not so much the introductory level articles in wikipedia that are worthwhile, so much as it is the material in the footnotes for many of them.

    This makes Posner sound like a crabby old guy, not the erudite professor who the wiki article describes as
    Posner has been called "the world’s most distinguished legal scholar."[1] He is the author of nearly 40 books on jurisprudence, economics, and several other topics, including Economic Analysis of Law, The Economics of Justice, The Problems of Jurisprudence, Sex and Reason, Law, Pragmatism and Democracy, and The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy. The Journal of Legal Studies has identified Posner as the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century.[2]

    But it does look very much like he might be wrong in this instance. Perhaps even Posner has a bad day? Or... he's becoming a crabby old guy like the neighbor that gets disproportionately bent out of shape over a kid crossing his lawn.

    Don't know, but this does appear to be an interesting topic. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

    I'm sure we haven't seen the end yet, no where close to it.

    It is also worth noting however from the wikipedia article:
    However, in reaction to some of the perceived excesses of the late 1960s, Posner developed a strongly conservative bent....Today, although generally considered a figure of the right, Posner's pragmatism, his qualified moral relativism and moral skepticism,[8] and his affection for the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche set him apart from most American conservatives.

    That would seem to - again - put being anti-souveillance in the category of being a conservative viewpoint more than a liberal / Democratic one.


    I here is a First Circuit opinion. Many of these States have similair wiretapping laws when I did some research. They realized you don't need a "press" pass.