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Judge Nixes ACLU’s Fight Over Eavesdropping Law

CHICAGO (CN) - The American Civil Liberties Union cannot challenge an Illinois law that criminalizes recording people, including cops, in public places without their permission, a federal judge ruled.

The Illinois Eavesdropping Act prevents the recording of any part of a conversation without the consent of each participating party.

Claiming that the law, or fear of it, has chilled its plans to record police-civilian interactions, the group filed suit, alleging First Amendment violations.

U.S. District Judge Suzanne Conlon had dismissed their complaint in October, so the ACLU asked in November to file an amended complaint and obtain an injunction.

Conlon ruled on Jan. 10 that the nonprofit's argument was unconvincing, noting there is no "right to audio record."

Even though the ACLU proved it faces a possible threat of prosecution for breaking the eavesdropping law, the ruling states that a "credible, imminent threatened injury must implicate a constitutional right."

The ACLU's challenge "proposes an unprecedented expansion of the First Amendment," Conlon wrote.

Nine individuals are currently being prosecuted within the state for eavesdropping, according to the ACLU.

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