Chat, Copy, Paste, Prison
April 13, 2004 3:03 PM   Subscribe

IM logging as illegal wiretap: We need to get beyond the technology itself and ask whether there are legitimate expectations of privacy that we seek to protect by either permitting or refusing to permit the creation of a permanent record of communications.
posted by anathema (8 comments total)
This decision applies only to New Hampshire which has a two-party concent law for recording a conversation. Which is unfortunate, because it puts a serious damper on your boss snooping on your conversations. Because even if you sign away that right in an employee agreement, the person you're talking to hasn't.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:44 PM on April 13, 2004

But New Hampshire, like many other U.S. states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Pennsylvania and Washington, requires all parties to the communication to consent to a recording before it is legal.
posted by anathema at 3:53 PM on April 13, 2004

I live in Pennsylvania. I have Gaim log all of my conversations by default and have since day one. Looks like I'm in trouble.
posted by thebabelfish at 4:12 PM on April 13, 2004

Proving the logging was willful would be difficult where the chat service has logging turned on by default, as Trillian does (I think -- I don't recall turning it on myself). Do chat clients generally have this option on by default?
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:15 PM on April 13, 2004

I'll admit I just skimmed the article, but wouldn't this be more similar to saving a letter (or better yet, an email)someone sent you than recording a phone conversation? I would think that when you are communicating via text it is understood that the text doesn't disappear immediately after being read, and so is essentially assumed to be recorded.
posted by Wingy at 4:32 PM on April 13, 2004

Oh, joy! I live in a one-party state so I can log everything my local buddies say. Of course, if you log a chat with with someone from another state, it applies at federal level, which is two-party.

(Look ma, I learned something in class last week.)
posted by katieinshoes at 7:16 PM on April 13, 2004

Okay, so what happens if one party is using software with logging on by default, like iChat, and the other is using AIM, which (I think) does not?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:31 PM on April 13, 2004

[The judge] could have gone further and found that the policeman committed a state felony by both making the initial screen capture, and again by transferring it to the other computer, and again when he "disclosed the contents" of the illegal copying either to the prosecutor or to the court.

Mark D. Rasch, J.D., seems to have put a lot of years between himself and that 2L criminal procedure class, unless he lives in a state where judges peer down from the bench into the witness stand and send hapless peace officers to the dungeon.

In any case, there's a big difference between a judge ruling that the state can't use these transcripts -- which are, remember, recorded without warrants -- as evidence, and a judge ruling that someone can be convicted of a crime under normal circumstances. Not to mention the fact that this was a random trial court judge, so the opinion carries little weight. But it sure made for a nice headline.
posted by subgenius at 1:19 AM on April 14, 2004

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