Today we live in a world where there are video and audio recorders everywhere. You probably have one in your pocket or purse right now if you own a cellular telephone. The problem is a patchwork of inconsistent, illogical and complicated laws that vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
Many states do not restrict one-party consent recordings. Others either limit or prohibit using your cell phone capture what your own ears can lawfully hear.
For example you witness a crime being committed or expect to see one unfold in your presence. What better tool could you use to document an objective and accurate record of the event than your cell phone?
Of course you could try and commit what you hear to memory or even take notes. The crime in many states is simply getting that accurately accomplished through objective, cheap and available technology.
The Illinois Appellate court ruled some 20 years ago that use of a recorder was nothing more than enhanced note-taking and therefore legal.
The real reason may be because lawmakers are involved in criminal activity such as soliciting bribes, committing extortion and strive to make any discovery or apprehension difficult or impossible. They have even made this objective kind of evidence inadmissible in our courts!
Does one-party consent recording compromise anyone’s privacy? I suppose it could if the person recording and publishing the conversation was your own lawyer, physician, priest or spouse.
Other confusing and impossible to understand legal expectations of privacy are involved. A telephone chat or conversation conducted inside a private office or dwelling can be different than one in an apartment house hallway, street corner; busy restaurant or at a public meeting. Good luck figuring that out.
Is the use of voice to text software also prohibited by states when the voice itself is not captured?
Why must this protect criminals that are engaged in criminal conspiracy, extortion, intimidation, fraud, threat-making, harassment, and indecent solicitation?
Lawyers, private investigators, paralegals and insurance adjusters for example must interview witnesses that they suspect will later change their stories or even falsely accuse them of witness tampering or even sexual assault. Prohibiting one-party consent recording actually could cause grave and life-changing injustice. Conversations must be examined and evaluated in ridicules and completely unnecessary courtroom swearing contests.
One-party consent needs to be legal everywhere. Certainly there should be a defense for anyone recording criminal activity or if they could foresee that the recording is necessary to prevent false allegations to surface later. Protecting criminals is horrible public policy.