The Illinois Supreme Court recently struck down as unconstitutional the electronic eavesdropping provisions of the Illinois Criminal Code. 720 ILCS 5/14-2. So what does this mean for all of us. Unfortunately, there is no one answer. Some will view this as a victory for telecommunications in an increasingly electronically transparent society. Others may view this as an assault on privacy rights. Whether you are an employer, employee, law enforcement officer, a coach, mom or pedestrian, however, it will have some impact on you.
In People v. Melongo the Illinois Supreme Court found that both the recording and publishing provisions of the eavesdropping statute were facially overbroad and struck down both provisions. Therefore, as it currently stands and until the Illinois General Assembly acts, all recordings, whether open or secretive, whether between two parties or more, are legal in Illinois. A pedestrian may record a domestic dispute on the street. An employee may record a meeting with her supervisors, a mom may record a conversation with her son’s coach, an ex-husband may record a phone call with his ex-wife. All of this is fair game and has broad implications to free speech and privacy concerns.
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