Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Hmmm.--Court: Mom's Eavesdropping Violated Law

SEATTLE - Striking a blow for rebellious teenagers, the Washington Supreme Court ruled Thursday that state law prohibits parents from eavesdropping on a child's phone conversations.

The case reached the high court because of a purse-snatching. A 17-year-old boy was convicted of the robbery, in part on testimony from his girlfriend's mother, who overhead him discussing the crime on the phone with her daughter.

The daughter had taken a cordless phone into her bedroom and closed the door. In another room, her mother pressed the speakerphone button on an extension, listened in and took notes.

The court ruled that the daughter and her boyfriend had a reasonable expectation of privacy on the phone. Washington state law prohibits intercepting or recording conversations without the consent of all participants.

"The Washington privacy statute puts a high value on the privacy of communications," Justice Tom Chambers wrote in the unanimous opinion.

The boyfriend will get a new trial.

Sorry for you parents in Washington, but to me this sounds like a load of crap. Although it's sad the lady felt the need to eavesdrop on her daughter, it seems like a bit of stretch to say that the poor little boyfriend should be able to misuse his perceived right to privacy in such a way. Seems like the owner of the home would have some right to regulate the usage of his property, including the communications that are carried on in it, but what do I know?

For what it's worth, here in Alabama the mom's conduct would have fallen under our statute section 13A-11-30 (1) EAVESDROP. To overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of the private communication of others without the consent of at least one of the persons engaged in the communication, except as otherwise provided by law.

It might have been considered criminal eavesdropping, since the telephone was a device being used to overhear the call--A person commits the crime of criminal eavesdropping if he intentionally uses any device to eavesdrop, whether or not he is present at the time.

Given these statutes, I would like to go on record now and say that everyone in my house who uses the phone does so with the understanding that in using the telephone, they offer their unequivocal consent for me to eavesdrop all I want. And even butt in, if I so choose.

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