An Illinois state law prohibits activity that monitors its government. In preparation for his documentary film, which was broadcast on public television, Patrick Thompson was filming police as they made traffic stops. The police seized his film and the District Attorney charged the scofflaw with eavesdropping. It’s disturbing. The right of people to monitor, observe and collect documentation on the operation of their government should be written into every state constitution. How can we maintain a democracy if activity that doesn’t interfere with the police or other government operations is illegal?
For years, Illinois law has prohibited recording conversations unless everyone agrees. The state Legislature toughened the law 10 years ago, removing an exemption that allowed conversations to be recorded if they took place in public.