ShotSpotter = Wiretap?

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This is the question that's coming before the SJC: Comm v. Denison

ShotSpotter is able to record voices and other sounds. Does the use of a voice recording make by the ShotSpotter system constituent a 'wiretap' under the Commonwealth's wiretap statute?

This is a murder case from New Bedford where the motions judged suppressed an audio recording made by the Shot Spotter system.

Related:
WBUR 2012: Gunshot Sensor Sparks Privacy Concerns

Consider and discuss........
 

Rob Boudrie

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I thought the wiretap law was intended to protect the police from suspects documenting law enforcement misconduct, not the other way around.
 

strangenh

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Wow. Had no idea that they actively recorded sound. Do exigent circumstances apply to intercepts in MA? They do at the federal level under 18 USC §2518. What about MA law?

(I guess that is the question!)
 

MisterHappy

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Law says, "No surreptitious audio recording?" Then, that's the law.

If the .gov wants to use this sort of evidence, then signs should be put up, at every intersection, and at a distance of not more than 50 feet apart that read, "All speech and sound in this area are being recorded by the government, to be used against you in a court of law".

Oh, the sign should have

1984-big-brother-poster.jpg

just for clarity's sake.
 
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Is it legal, for any entity, public or private, to record audio of persons in public?

If so, while it's certainly not the intended use of the ShotSpotter, then this should be admissible evidence.
If not, it shouldn't, and the persons who provided this evidence should be charged with illegal wiretapping.
 

Chevy 2 65

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People should have no expectation of privacy in public.

Applying this principle, the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals generally maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in their bodies, clothing, and personal belongings. Homeowners possess a privacy interest that extends inside their homes and in the curtilage immediately surrounding the outside of their homes, but not in the "open fields" and "wooded areas" extending beyond the curtilage (see Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57 [1924]). - See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimina...h-amendment-applies.html#sthash.3I19JPtF.dpuf
 
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The article and the positions taken by either side made my head explode. The law is the law. The state should be the first to be required to follow the law. If wiretap laws say that it's illegal to record a conversation in public then not only is the evidence inadmissible but the company should be sued and heavily fined for breaking the law.

What you’re saying is good news for civil libertarians, who believe that we should be able to have conversations on the street without police coming after us for them later. On the other hand, the police lose a valuable law enforcement tool if this won’t hold up in court. What are your thoughts about that? Should the police have a little bit more flexibility?

[banghead]

Perhaps the author might have instead asked, why are we all allowed to be free, isn't that dangerous? Couldn't one of us choose to, you know, do something, naughty?
 

Dadstoys

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Even 911 informs you that you are being recorded, I assume it's a legal requirement.
I had no idea those things recorded voice.
Way , way too slippery of a slope to be going down.

How about if the thing is close enough to a building to record voices from inside through an open window?
Now where is it at from a rights violation?

Who's keeping the recordings ? It sounds like a private company. No bueno .
Is everyone at the company background checked or vetted somehow?
Could what they collect be used to blackmail someone if there is an unscrupulous employee?

There's just far too many ways this could and probably has already been misused.
 

pastera

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Is it legal, for any entity, public or private, to record audio of persons in public?

If so, while it's certainly not the intended use of the ShotSpotter, then this should be admissible evidence.
If not, it shouldn't, and the persons who provided this evidence should be charged with illegal wiretapping.
What if the system was approved because the manufacturer assured people that it only stored audio for several seconds before and after a suspected gun shot?

While an argument for admissibility could be made that the detected shot creates probable cause, anything else is obviously outside that.

Until they post signage on shot spotter sites it is surreptitiously recorded.


Sent from my C6530 using Tapatalk
 

GlockJock

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Shotspotters have been recording audio for several years in Roxbury and Mattapan, but up to now have been useless to cops and inadmissible in court for prosecutors due to the unintelligible audio...

"Yo, wassup! Dat's wh'um be sayin cuz dat homes dun be packin dat zam, and sh*t, and homey don't be inside dat beemz cuz I be gittin' ma 9...know wh'um sayin? Now dat's wh'um talkin bout!!!!!"

???????????
 

Rob Boudrie

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Is it legal, for any entity, public or private, to record audio of persons in public?

If so, while it's certainly not the intended use of the ShotSpotter, then this should be admissible evidence.
If not, it shouldn't, and the persons who provided this evidence should be charged with illegal wiretapping.
It is legal only if done with knowledge of both parties, or in an obvious manner - which is why reporters can stick a microphone in your face or record audio of a crowd without permission.

Nearly every time journalists do articles on this, they get it wrong and say that MA law requires both parties to consent. The law is "no surreptitious recording", not "2 party consent". In fact, a recording of someone saying "I do not consent to having this being recorded" followed by the other party saying "Too bad, I am not turning the recorder off" would provide a very good defense, as the recording would no longer be surreptitious.

One question would be "is a shot spotter mounted on a utility pole, but not disguised in any way, surreptitious?".

- - - Updated - - -

Time to sell my stock in Shotspotter.
Not really. The MA law is much more restrictive than most states.

Producing the TV show "To catch a predator" would be a felony in MA, but is perfectly legal in many other states.
 
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It is legal only if done with knowledge of both parties, or in an obvious manner - which is why reporters can stick a microphone in your face or record audio of a crowd without permission.

Nearly every time journalists do articles on this, they get it wrong and say that MA law requires both parties to consent. The law is "no surreptitious recording", not "2 party consent". In fact, a recording of someone saying "I do not consent to having this being recorded" followed by the other party saying "Too bad, I am not turning the recorder off" would provide a very good defense, as the recording would no longer be surreptitious.

One question would be "is a shot spotter mounted on a utility pole, but not disguised in any way, surreptitious?".

- - - Updated - - -


Not really. The MA law is much more restrictive than most states.

Producing the TV show "To catch a predator" would be a felony in MA, but is perfectly legal in many other states.

Thanks for the info. So it does sound like it's an illegal recording, which means it should be tossed
 

AHM

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Even 911 informs you that you are being recorded, I assume it's a legal requirement. ...
(Paraphrased from memory):

A child abuse defense lawyer whose litigation skills
are downright epic at catching bureaucrats in bald-faced lies,
once wrote:

I called the Massachusetts Division of Child Protective Services,​
and while I was waiting to be connected,​
the voice mail system said,​
"this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes".​
So I did.​

[rofl2]

Don't you love it when you're handed consent on a silver platter?
 
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MisterHappy

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It is legal only if done with knowledge of both parties, or in an obvious manner - which is why reporters can stick a microphone in your face or record audio of a crowd without permission.

Nearly every time journalists do articles on this, they get it wrong and say that MA law requires both parties to consent. The law is "no surreptitious recording", not "2 party consent". In fact, a recording of someone saying "I do not consent to having this being recorded" followed by the other party saying "Too bad, I am not turning the recorder off" would provide a very good defense, as the recording would no longer be surreptitious.

One question would be "is a shot spotter mounted on a utility pole, but not disguised in any way, surreptitious?".

- - - Updated - - -


Not really. The MA law is much more restrictive than most states.

Producing the TV show "To catch a predator" would be a felony in MA, but is perfectly legal in many other states.

Yes, because it's a "Shotspotter", implying that it's there to spot shots. Not to listen in, like the Weasley twins with their Extensible Ears.
 

Zappa

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I wonder if this is recording audio in addition to video ???

argus7q-2-web.jpg
 
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People should have no expectation of privacy in public.

Applying this principle, the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals generally maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in their bodies, clothing, and personal belongings. Homeowners possess a privacy interest that extends inside their homes and in the curtilage immediately surrounding the outside of their homes, but not in the "open fields" and "wooded areas" extending beyond the curtilage (see Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57 [1924]). - See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimina...h-amendment-applies.html#sthash.3I19JPtF.dpuf
Under federal court jurisprudence you're probably right. However the state level protections in the Commonwealth then to be much stronger.

I thought the wiretap law was intended to protect the police from suspects documenting law enforcement misconduct, not the other way around.
I don't think that was ever the intent. That's just the 'silver lining' for LE that the SJC read into the law.
 

Malodave

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I don't know if Baltimore uses the Shot Spotter, but they do have
cameras up on utility poles with flashing blue strobe lights to inform
people that they could be recorded by them.

Malodave
 

Obie1

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Damn, do I have to change my ring tone, which is a recording of a .223 round being fired at, of course, supersonic speed?
 

Racenet

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Shotspotters have been recording audio for several years in Roxbury and Mattapan, but up to now have been useless to cops and inadmissible in court for prosecutors due to the unintelligible audio...

"Yo, wassup! Dat's wh'um be sayin cuz dat homes dun be packin dat zam, and sh*t, and homey don't be inside dat beemz cuz I be gittin' ma 9...know wh'um sayin? Now dat's wh'um talkin bout!!!!!"

???????????

[rofl][laugh2]
 

garandman

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Just heard a report on the use of ShotSpotter in San Franscisco. SFPD has responded to over 3,000 shotspotter alerts.

About 20% of them have the wrong location. The number of arrests attributed to shotspotter is one: in that case a neighbor had also called 911 and the perpetrator sat down on a curb and waited for police to arrive.
 
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People should have no expectation of privacy in public.

Applying this principle, the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals generally maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in their bodies, clothing, and personal belongings. Homeowners possess a privacy interest that extends inside their homes and in the curtilage immediately surrounding the outside of their homes, but not in the "open fields" and "wooded areas" extending beyond the curtilage (see Hester v. United States, 265 U.S. 57 [1924]). - See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimina...h-amendment-applies.html#sthash.3I19JPtF.dpuf

Even if we consider a perverted judicial opinion like the above the previously mentioned tool is incapable of discriminating between sounds/conversations made in/around a home and that in a field or "public" area.

As such their use by any gov official should be prohibited by law
 

Rob Boudrie

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If wiretap laws say that it's illegal to record a conversation in public then not only is the evidence inadmissible but the company should be sued and heavily fined for breaking the law.
And, the person(s) who knowingly set it up to do so should be prosecuted for a felony.

Remember Hyde? He has a felony conviction because he recorded an officer he though was being rude at a traffic stop. The MA SJC upheld the decision on the basis of "if we allowed this, criminals would attempt to document police misconduct".
 

Matt_SERE

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This is the question that's coming before the SJC: Comm v. Denison

ShotSpotter is able to record voices and other sounds. Does the use of a voice recording make by the ShotSpotter system constituent a 'wiretap' under the Commonwealth's wiretap statute?

This is a murder case from New Bedford where the motions judged suppressed an audio recording made by the Shot Spotter system.

Related:
WBUR 2012: Gunshot Sensor Sparks Privacy Concerns

Consider and discuss........

Thank you for providing both links. Jut like the legal briefs you link to it allows us to gather information and follow along if we choose to.

[thumbsup]
 
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