Is An Internet Chat Transcript An Illegal Eavesdrop?

from the desperation-defense dept

A lawyer defending someone charged with soliciting sex with a minor online has apparently moved to the desperation defense, claiming that the transcript of an internet chat is an illegal eavesdrop. Apparently, Illinois law states that it's illegal to eavesdrop "using any device capable of retaining or transcribing conversations or electronic communications without the consent of all parties involved in the communication." Of course, the most obvious response is that by creating the transcript themselves the participants gave their consent to it.
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  • identicon
    Mikester, 10 Mar 2004 @ 11:09am

    Don't think so

    Sorry, but I don't think that applies. By your logic, just having a conversation implies consent to record it by whatever means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 10 Mar 2004 @ 11:18am

      Re: Don't think so

      No, I'm saying that since it's a written communication, they were "making the recording" themselves - which suggests consent to have it recorded.

      A regular conversation isn't being recorded. A typed message is, by default, being recorded. It's like complaining that the answering machine recorded my message. Of course it did - that's what it's designed to do, and by talking to it, I consent to be recorded.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Mike, 10 Mar 2004 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Don't think so

        While I'm not a lawyer (either, it would seem), doesn't the EULA of some IM services indicate that by installing/using their software, you are agreeing to let someone look at your chat content? I thought I read this somewhere deep in the bowels of the MSN IM client EULA.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Greg, 10 Mar 2004 @ 6:11pm

        Re: Don't think so

        This is faulty logic on two fronts. Just because your typed conversation is digitized and transferred, doesn't mean it has to be stored or recorded. A transcript of traffic to my website is stored in the web server logs, but it doesn't have to be. The server can just serve up the pages and not record who it sent them to.

        And second, if your IM client stores the conversation, that doesn't mean mine did.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike (profile), 10 Mar 2004 @ 6:50pm

          Re: Don't think so

          I still disagree. The fact that it's written down (no matter where or how it's stored) is a "record" of the conversation. The fact that after I've typed something you can still see it proves that. It's not like you see one letter I type each second and then it disappears from your screen. By typing it, you are recording it on the other person's screen. What they do with that recording (keep it, toss it, etc) doesn't matter. It's still a recording and you know it as you type it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            beck, 10 Mar 2004 @ 9:17pm

            Re: Don't think so

            So if a deaf person uses a TDD machine for a phone call, it does not have the same protection as a voice phone call?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Joe Baderderm, 11 Mar 2004 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Don't think so

            Is your argument the same as using letters or postcards as eveidence? In any case, it would be a bad precedent to allow this defense to have any merit. The lawyer was trying to get with a 14 year old girl!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2004 @ 4:27pm

            Re: Don't think so

            The fact that it's written down (no matter where or how it's stored) is a "record" of the conversation.
            So with a VOIP phone, since the conversation is digitized, u r saying it is okay for someone to use the phone conversation as evidence with out ur permission.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Patrick, 11 Mar 2004 @ 4:22pm

    communication medium

    Calling IM a 'recording' presupposes it is not primarily a communication medium, but a system for recording conversation. Telephone answering machines are for recording, while the telephone network itself is for communication. If the conversation was a series of posts on a newsgroup, this argument would hold water. Otherwise, the issue is expectation of privacy--non-existant in a public chat room, but possible with IM.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2005 @ 6:24am

    No Subject Given

    the patriot act permits ISPs to record transmissions, legally, by the way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe B, 14 Mar 2008 @ 5:12pm

    IL eavesdropping law

    Illinois law permits recording conversations if one of the parties believes the other party is engaged in a criminal offense against them or family member.

    So if the victim was under-age then it it was ok to record the conversation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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