Prior to March of 2014, it was illegal record anyone, including police officers, without their explicit consent. Under that law, all conversations needed to be by consent, including conversations or events recorded in public. In March, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois eavesdropping law was unconstitutional. It was unclear after March whether all recordings without the other person’s consent would be fair game. However, lawmakers have finally agreed on new rules and it awaits to be signed by the governor.
In the new bill, a lot of emphasis will be given to whether there is an expectation of privacy. For example, it would probably be legal to videotape or record a police officer at the scene of the crime as there is no expectation of privacy. The same would apply if a police officer is yelling at others on the street as he or she clearly expects more than one person to hear him or her yell. If the police officer is talking quietly to one of the victims of the crime, however, the officer and the victim are clearly discussing confidential information and are doing so in a manner that shows they have an expectation of privacy. In said situation, the new bill would condone that behavior and any person recording said conversations could be subject to prosecution.