A Massachusetts woman's arrest has brought the state's strict wiretapping law into the national spotlight.
Karen Dziewit was arrested early Sunday morning outside of a Springfield home, charged with disorderly conduct, carrying an open container of alcohol and an illegal wiretap, according to the Boston Herald.
The last charge came after the 24-year-old allegedly told the police, "I’ve been recording this thing the whole time, my phone is in my purse, see you in court."
Dziewit allegedly made a voice recording with her phone while she was being arrested which, according to the Springfield Republican, is against state law.
A Massachusetts statute states that a private citizen can't record another person without first getting their consent.
Massachusetts courts ruled three years ago that a person videotaping police in public is constitutionally protected activity as long as the person doesn't interfere with an officer's work. But secret video or voice recording is prohibited.
An editorial in the Republican quotes Travis S. Triano who, writing for the Cardozo Law Review, said, "The current form of the State Wiretap Acts creates an inexplicable double standard – providing police with near limitless discretion to conduct police-on-civilian recordings and protecting them from public scrutiny, while at the same time restricting civilian rights to record police and subjecting them to arrest and potential prosecution.”
In crafting the law, the Republican notes, legislators who supported the wiretap law feared that unregulated recording of private conversations posed a threat to people's privacy.