Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yes, We Have That Privilege

Back in June I mentioned the story of Michael Gannon, a New Hampshire landlord who owned (and lived in) a building in a deteriorating neighborhood and installed video cameras to record the entryways after his building had been burglarized a few times. Everything was fine until Gannon’s camera recorded the image of a police detective displaying less-than-exemplary behavior.

Michael Gannon, 49, of 26 Morgan St., was arrested Tuesday night, after he brought a video to the police station to try to file a complaint against Detective Andrew Karlis, according to Gannon’s wife, Janet Gannon, and police reports filed in Nashua District Court. Police instead arrested Gannon, charging him with two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device to record Karlis without the detective’s consent.

Of course, this law’s never used against business owners with closed-circuit TV in their establishments, nor police with cameras in their dashboards. For that matter, I doubt Gannon would’ve faced any trouble had he produced a videotape showing kids selling joints in his neighborhood.

But at least the Nashua police dropped the charges. As the Nashua Telegraph reported today:

Police won’t prosecute a man for using his home security system to record detectives on his front porch, Nashua Police Chief Timothy Hefferan announced Friday. . . Gannon’s cameras recorded both audio and video, and a sticker on the side of his Morgan Street home warned that persons on the premises were subject to being recorded. Police had charged that Gannon violated state wiretap laws by recording officers without their knowledge while they were standing on his front porch.

The police confiscated all of Gannon’s security equipment, which he is still trying to get back. The law against taping police officers on duty without their express consent stands, although the police decided to drop charges here because, they said, they figured their case was too weak to pursue.

I have little to say here that can’t be said better by this quote, posted anonymously in response to the last story:

As O'Brien passed the telescreen a thought seemed to strike him. He stopped, turned aside and pressed a switch on the wall. There was a sharp snap. The voice had stopped.
Julia uttered a tiny sound, a sort of squeak of surprise. Even in the midst of his panic, Winston was too much taken aback to be able to hold his tongue.'You can turn it off!' he said.
'Yes,' said O'Brien, 'we can turn it off. We have that privilege.'


Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is mad fucked up.

6:49 AM  

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