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California AG Rules Secret Phone Recordings Weren't Illegal

Publication Date: 
November 11, 2009
Source: 
Sacramento Bee
Author: 
Jack Chang

Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, is quoted in the Sacramento Bee on the interpretation of California state privacy laws

:

Attorney General Jerry Brown's office has sparked debate about its interpretation of state privacy laws after it determined that a spokesman had not done anything illegal by secretly taping conversations with news reporters.

At issue is state penal code section 632, which prohibits the intentional recording without consent of "confidential communication."

...

And while Gillette made his opinion clear about the issue, the memo sets no precedent in a court of law, said Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

"It purports to say something general, but you couldn't take that to the bank," Calo said. "Maybe you could feel comfortable that the attorney general won't bring an action against you if you're a reporter surreptitiously recording someone."