Glik wins; right to record police upheld in 1st Circuit

The Glik case has been resolved resoundingly in favor of the First Amendment right to publicly to record the activities of police officers on public business anywhere in the First Circuit. One quote summarizes the case best: "Glik filmed the defendant police officers in the Boston Common, the oldest city park in the United States and the apotheosis of a public forum.  In such traditional public spaces, the rights of the state to limit the exercise of First Amendment activity are 'sharply circumscribed.'"

On the MA wiretap law banning secret recordings, the court wrote: “The presence of probable cause was not even arguable here. ... For the reasons we have discussed, we see no basis in the law for a reasonable officer to conclude that such a conspicuous act of recording was 'secret' merely because the officer did not have actual knowledge of whether audio was being recorded.”

Wiretaps for suits

The recent insider trading conviction of billionaire Raj Rajaratnam shows that federal prosecutors will increasingly be using wiretaps to build fraud cases involving Wall Street executives. It also signals the growing acceptance by federal judges that, despite the extraordinary cost and invasiveness of such procedures (agents are directed to stop listening when talk turns from business to private--yes, stop the laughter), wiretaps have reached a kind of critical mass of acceptance in the surveillance nation we now inhabit.

In a related matter, Massachusetts law enforcement officials are pushing for a change to antiquated state wiretap laws. An interesting side note is that if the law is changed, it should signal the end to a large number of frivolous wiretapping charges brought against Mass. citizens who are documenting police activity. The Boston Police Dept. is being sued in a major case on that exact issue. The case is Glik v. Cunniffe et al., Civil Action No. 10-10150.
The story and video from the arrest is available here.