Audio/Transcript of My Discussion on NPR About Recording Police


You can now listen to archived audio or read the transcript from my appearance on NPR's Talk of the Nation yesterday.

The topic is the legality of recording on-duty police officers.


NEXT: Is Nullification Constitutional?

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  1. Why is it OK for police to record us with their dash cams but not ok for us to record them? Doesnt make any sense.

  2. I liked how you kept the conversation on topic, Balko, and it was refreshing to hear the cops that called in welcome civilian surveillance, but the moderator seemed absolutely clueless, and not in a devil’s advocate kind of way.

    1. I give the mod some credit since it was a very one-sided discussion. Even the cops who called in said that citizen journalists were a good thing.

      And nice droid plug.

      1. I’m sure you’ll explain how they are a bad thing.

  3. Can someone explain to me how wiretapping laws work? If I send a private email to my friend, I have an expectation of privacy. If I say the same thing on this site I said to my friend, I have no expectation of privacy. If you say something in any official capacity as an officer or government official or any citizen in a public place, why is there any expectation of privacy? There isn’t, or there shouldn’t be.

    1. Depends on state law. As to whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to a particular communication, it depends on what the codified state law says as well as any authoritative court decisions. Electronic communications such as e-mail and blog comments typically are treated differently than in-person oral communication, and from radio or telephone conversations.

      “It depends” always is a safe answer. It’s one of the first things you learn in law school.

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