The eavesdropping statute in the state of Illinois limits the activities of journalists (and other citizens) in two especially important ways:
1. Recording a conversation without the consent of all parties is considered eavesdropping (compared with 38 states that allow "one-party consent," according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press )-- and is considered a felony. This means that journalists in Illinois cannot tape interviews unless the person(s) being interviewed have given their consent.
2. The law was amended in the 1990s to expressly forbid citizens from recording law-enforcement officers; it is illegal to record yourself getting arrested. (Citation needed)
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois filed a lawsuit in August 2010 , arguing that the prohibition against making audio recordings of police violated First Amendment protections. The ACLU argues that the First Amendment's protection of press freedoms implies the right to gather information, not just distribute it. (Citation needed.)
A police officer posting to an online discussion (on a bulletin board created to discuss University of Illinois athletics) used the following example to make a counter-argument: :
- [During an arrest,] this turd [i.e., suspect]... acts stupidly and says he is going to rape and kill my wife, burn my house down and then kill me. I then tell him what will happen to him if he ever enters onto my property. Well guess what, his turd buddy is filming and only turns into my police dept and the media my reaction to his buddy. He never turns in what his buddy was doing. Now this interaction is released to the public and I am the one who looks bad. Is that fair. Now even more people hate us for the video they saw from turd #2.