Thursday, May 26, 2005

Calgary Observer: Grewal's Tape and Privacy

The Calgary Observer (at the link above) asks "How would that protect a person's right to privacy? Surely, this can't be legit. If it were that easy, the police could wire-tap all sorts of conversations all the time, without having to obtain a warrant first."

The appropriate analogy in police work is not the wire-tap, but the wire. A wire-tap will record conversations between two or more parties who don't know they're being taped. By contrast, when the police put a wire on someone, the one with the wire knows.

In some states in the US, apparently, both parties have to consent to being recorded. In others (and in Canada), only one party needs to consent. Hence it is perfectly legal to go around taping conversations. Be careful though! If you do it often, no one will talk to you!


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