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Fri Mar 21, 2014, 10:46 AM

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down eavesdropping law as too broad

Source: Reuters

Illinois Supreme Court strikes down eavesdropping law as too broad

BY ERIC M. JOHNSON
Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:05am EDT

(Reuters) - The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday struck down as unconstitutional a state eavesdropping law, one of the strictest in the United States, saying it criminalized recording a sweeping array of innocent behavior such as fans cheering at an athletic event.

The ruling is a big blow to the 1961 Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which had made it a felony to record audio of conversations unless all parties consented, a deeply controversial restriction in an age of ubiquitous mobile phones.

Illinois' top court, in twin unanimous rulings on related cases dealing with audio recording, said the state's provision was overly broad and a violation of constitutional guarantees of free speech and due process.

The law criminalized recording conversations "that cannot be deemed private," such as a loud street argument, a political debate on a college campus and screaming fans at an athletic event, among other scenarios, the court said.

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Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/21/us-usa-court-eavesdropping-idUSBREA2K08D20140321

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