by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 11th 2009 9:38am
You may have heard that the new iPod Nano that was just released happens to include a voice recorder among other new features. But if you get one, you might want to be careful how you use it -- especially in certain states, such as Massachusetts. Slashdot points us to a story about a guy who was arrested in a dispute-gone-wrong with a car repair shop, but the really odd part is that beyond disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, the guy was charged with both "unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping." Wiretapping? In a dispute involving a mechanic? Apparently the guy had a simple Olympus digital voice recorder in his pocket, which was on during his argument with the repair shop. And Massachusetts is one of twelve states with a law that forbids taping conversations without the approval of everyone involved. Even if you accept such a law (and it doesn't make much sense to me), the inclusion of "possessing a device for wiretapping" seems really problematic. Digital voice recorders are quite common. Plus, many mobile phones and even cameras include similar things. And, of course, now with the new iPods including that, does it mean it's illegal to carry one in Massachusetts (or those eleven other states) without first announcing it and getting permission? Obviously no one's likely to get arrested just for carrying around an iPod Nano, but the fact that the law makes such a scenario possible demonstrates a pretty serious problem with the law.
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