Federal court blocks Ill. eavesdropping law

May 8, 2012

A federal court in Chicago has granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of Illinois' controversial eavesdropping law.

(Read the full ruling here)

The law makes it a felony to make an audio recording of a conversation unless all parties agree and sets out a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison. With the NATO summit coming to Chicago this month, activists had feared protesters and bloggers could run afoul of the law if they used smartphones or video cameras to record police responding to protests.

Tuesday's ruling stemmed from a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In its opinion, the court says "the Illinois eavesdropping statute restricts far more speech than necessary to protect legitimate privacy interests." And the court says it "likely violates the First Amendment's free speech and free-press guarantees."