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Conservative activist sues to overturn Massachusetts law that would keep him from filming people surreptitiously

A New York activist who helped bring down ACORN and who was arrested for breaking into a US senator's office in Louisiana wants a US judge to strike down the Massachusetts law that prohibits audio recordings without a person's consent.

In a lawsuit filed this week in US District Court against Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action Fund says the Massachusetts wiretapping law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments and is preventing his group from investigating "the recently reported instances of landlords taking advantage of housing shortages in Boston where students may live in unsafe and dilapidated conditions" as well as general malfeasance involving public officials.

The lawsuit does not allege that Conley's office has actually taken any action against the group.

Although a federal appeals court held that people could record Boston police officers in public without asking their permission, Project Veritas says that doesn't go far enough when it comes to "public officials in places with no expectation of privacy and private individuals in places with no expectation of privacy."

Based on past experience, PVA has not uncovered newsworthy matters to report by publicly announcing its recording efforts and seeking the consent of all parties to be recorded. Rather, PVA has uncovered newsworthy matters to report through secretive recording of discussions, often in areas held open to the public such as voting places, sidewalks, and hotel lobbies. Without utilizing such techniques, PVA is unable to exercise its First Amendment rights to engage in undercover newsgathering and journalism in Massachusetts.

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Comments

Sorry pal, but I think most people would want a heads up before someone were to just start recording them

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csmonitor:

How Planned Parenthood became 'victims of a crime' in hidden camera case

The accusers are now the accused in the case of the hidden camera videos that purportedly show Planned Parenthood staff in Texas discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue – a crime in the United States if done for profit. The anti-abortion activists who captured the controversial footage last year now face criminal charges.

A grand jury in Harris County cleared Planned Parenthood's Gulf Coast affiliate and indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, in a courtroom twist that surprised many. Both are charged with using fake driver's licenses, and Mr. Daleiden is charged with violating Texas' law against the purchase and sale of human organs – the same law he accused Planned Parenthood of breaking – based on his email to Planned Parenthood in which he sought to buy fetal tissue. Their lawyers say they have done nothing wrong. read more

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I think O'Keefe is trying to leverage the Glik precedent by emphasizing the public official aspect and expand the public place aspect to include places like public officials' offices, voter registration and polling places.

I celebrated Glik primarily because I saw how police were arresting videographers who just wanted police officers to be accountable for their conduct.

O'Keefe is completely untrustworthy to use audio and video to tell an honest story but that is not question here, the question is whether O'Keefe is right on the law or not. Admittedly, he's using the courts to expand a precedent. Do you think public officials should have the right to consent or not consent to being recorded in their offices?

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I don't want random people being able to record me without my consent

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The Mass wiretapping statute does prohibit recording you without your consent. It prohibits "secret" recording. They can record you all day without you consent, as long as it is done openly.

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I would contend that a better description of O'Keefe is convicted criminal , liar, and a-hole. His entire body of work is lies.

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Either works, conservative activist/criminal ahole. Conservatives rallied behind his obviously illegal actions. Fox News, the voice of the establishment republicans, has loved talking about his illegal "investigations".

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This winner broke into a US Senator's office and attempted to tap the phones.

http://thehill.com/capital-living/in-the-know/100105-filmmaker-okeefe-se...

I wonder what would have been the outcome if this precious piece of work were not a judge's son?

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his videos to deliberately smear his victims. He's a loathsome partisan thug in the tradition of Richard Nixon's ratfuckers, a convicted criminal who is lucky he hasn't been sued into oblivion or sent to prison, though I suspect that those fates yet await him.

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This makes him different from Glenn Greenwald how?

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You can't see the difference? Care to provide specific examples of Greenwald breaking into a US Senator's office or editing video to take things out of context?

Maybe finishing that GED or high school diploma would help with that.

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Why should anyone provide specific examples when you never cite your sources?

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Citations of O'Keefe's criminal selective-editing assholery are already numerous in this thread, and it's child's play to find hundreds of others online. He's narrowly avoided jail time for it. Are you sure you want to stand up and defend this egregious turd?

Meanwhile, we're still waiting for a single citation on Greenwald. Kinda makes it look like you got nuttin'.

So, cite from a credible source, or STFU.

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O'Keefe is guilty of one of the very, very few documented cases of actual voting fraud, when he went to New Hampshire and pretended he was somebody else. He failed, because the electoral system is much more resistant to fraud than he thinks it is, and because he's a sloppy amateur provocateur.

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but even if you have a credible citation -- give it your best shot -- it sounds like you're trying to justify a wrong with another wrong.

O'Keefe is indefensible, a lowlife pile of dogshit profiteering on right-wing lies. If that's your best attack on the causes he is fighting for with his vile, criminal tactics, maybe you need new causes.

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His PP video was not reflective of PP practices?

If anyone responds, please, no partisanship; I'm actually a firm believer in birth control, and not some extremist evangelical.

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PP charged s&h (shipping & handling) fees to ship off the medical waste from terminations to medical researchers.

O'Keefe & co edited their conversations to say that PP was selling dead fetuses for profit.

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Did you miss this part of it? The lies were so thick, they were criminal: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/us/2-abortion-foes-behind-planned-pare...

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To not be unknowingly recorded more.

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What about photographs?

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The wiretap law in MA only forbids secret audio recording/interception- video (without audio) and photographs are not covered (G.L. c. 272, §99)

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The Mass wiretapping statute does not prohibit recording you without your consent. It prohibits "secret" recording. They can record you all day without your consent, as long as it is done openly.

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