In a city that can land you in prison for openly recording cops against their wishes, Occupy Chicago activists fear police have been secretly eavesdropping on their cell phone conversations.
Occupy Chicago activists became suspicious when city officials installed “ominous-looking equipment” on top of a street lamp across the street from their encampment.
One activist sent in the following concern to Gawker:
I don’t really know what authority Chicago Police Department has to listen in to random people’s cell phone calls, especially since Occupy Chicago has been particularly non-violent. Has been in place for 3 days, and witnesses reported that the poleman installing the gear looked way too happy to be installing this equipment.
As Radley Balko points out, there is an exception to the absurd Illinois law that can send you to prison for several years for recording another person without their consent, which allows cops to record you without your consent.
The Illinois law also includes an exception for law enforcement, so police recordings without permission of the person being recorded are permissible.
The Illinois wiretapping law is currently being reviewed a panel of appellate judges. A decision can come any day now.
In September, an Illinois judge tossed out a case of a man who was arrested for recording cops without their consent, deeming it unconstitutional.
But prosecutors refused to accept that and began threatening to appeal the decision.