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posted by janrinok on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:24PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the now-that-is-a-surprise dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

As Tim Cushing wrote a few months back, recording the police is a complex and contentious issue in the US. But what about in China? Given the increasing clampdown on the Internet world, it's pretty easy to guess that the Chinese authorities wouldn't take too kindly to members of the public trying to hold the police to account in this way. Easy to guess -- and yet wrong, according to this story in the South China Morning Post (SCMP):

Chinese residents can now record the actions of police ­officers as long as it does not stop them from doing their job.

The article provides a little background to this rather surprising news:

The move is expected to help keep police in check but there were no details on how it will be enforced.

And this is why some of them clearly need to be controlled better:

Environmental scientist Lei, 29, died in police custody in May just 50 minutes after he was ­approached by plainclothes ­officers for an identification check in his neighbourhood.

At first, police said he died of a heart attack, but an autopsy report this month said he died of suffocation from gastric fluid.

The public blamed his death on police handling, with two case officers arrested on suspicion of dereliction of duty.

Source: TechDirt


Original Submission

Related Stories

Right to Record Police Activities in Public Advances in U.S. District Court Win 13 comments

The Boston Globe has a story out about a ruling in US District court this week that narrows the scope of a 50-year old Massachusetts law that restricted recording of police and other government officials.

The law, and similar ones still in effect in 10 other states, was implemented long before the advent of now ubiquitous cell phones. It and similar laws criminalized recordings made of police and public officials in public even in performance of their duties, as felonies and have caught large numbers of individuals, activists, and journalists doing the same thing they always do in their net. (Most states are covered already by rulings which find such recording legal on first amendment grounds.)

But a ruling issued Monday by US District Court Judge Patti Saris found, "On the core constitutional issue, the Court holds that secret audio recording of government officials, including law enforcement officials, performing their duties in public is protected by the First Amendment, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions." And so, she added, the law "is unconstitutional in those circumstances."

The attorney general's office is reviewing the decision so challenge or appeal may still be forthcoming. However, as the Globe notes

this is one law whose time has come and gone. Challenges to the law go back to at least 2001, when a spirited dissent in a case then before the Supreme Judicial Court insisted that the "legislative intent" was to regulate government surveillance, not that of private citizens trying to monitor police conduct in a public place.

This case was clearly a win for greater transparency — and that's all to the good. It should be allowed to stand.

More information on recording public officials is available here and here.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Maybe now we can, just a little bit more, in Massachusetts.

Good one Skippy.

Previously: Right to Record Police Established in U.S. Fifth Circuit
Right to Record Police Established in U.S. Third Circuit

Related: New Bill in Colorado Would Protect the Right to Record Police
PINAC Correspondent Found Guilty of Trespassing on Public Road
China Says it's OK for Members of the Public to Record the Police


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:32PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:32PM (#384220)
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:36PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:36PM (#384224)

    you are all being watched, even the enforcers are being watched, and the watchers are being watched. everyone watches everyone else.

    except the Party leadership. they are only watched by other Party leaders, like sharks, waiting for a moment of weakness...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:43PM (#384231)

      Where is the coast guard [youtube.com] in all of this?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:26PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:26PM (#384252)

        Protecting those new islands in the South China Sea?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:43PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday August 04 2016, @08:43PM (#384230) Homepage

    it's pretty easy to guess that the Chinese authorities wouldn't take too kindly to members of the public trying to hold the police to account in this way. Easy to guess -- and yet wrong

    Does anyone really believe that the Chinese government says has any relation to what it does?

    Film the police while they issue a parking ticket or catch a petty criminal? No problem. Now try when they arrest a human rights lawyer on charges of "subversion" and see what happens.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:10PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:10PM (#384242)

      I was going to say something similar. This will help them identify potential "troublemakers".

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @11:19PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @11:19PM (#384302)

        This will help them identify potential organ donors.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Thexalon on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:35PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:35PM (#384260)

      On the other hand, China has fewer people in prison than the US does. It's not like the US is really able to claim the moral high ground on their policing practices.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bob_super on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:37PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:37PM (#384263)

      > Does anyone really believe that the Chinese government says has any relation to what it does?

      I do.
      The Chinese people keep taking to the streets to protest local corruption. The central government is happy to put a few bullets in low-level corrupt people to prove that it's fighting corruption and bad management. The Party even regularly purges high-level guys who are getting in someone's way, or have been caught doing really outrageous stuff. One guy doesn't matter, if he's not part of the boss's family.

      You can film the cops in the street as much as you want. The local cops will want you dead, but the Party will thank you for being a good citizen.
      Taping uniformed cops on the street does not threaten the People Who Matter.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05 2016, @03:02PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05 2016, @03:02PM (#384493)

        Just like in the US, no? Try arresting a member of the Bush cartel... or the Clinton cartel...

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Friday August 05 2016, @09:15PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Friday August 05 2016, @09:15PM (#384630) Journal

        They might not even do that. They said you can film, they didn't say they'd do anything about it.

        Much like the US -- the courts say we have a right to film. The police disagree and arrest people for it quite regularly. It's exceedingly rare for officers to be disciplined for that.

        And even when a police officer is caught on video blatantly violating the law, usually nothing is done. An internal investigation will find no evidence of wrongdoing. At best they'll get a show trial and be found not guilty -- unless it's a convenient excuse to get rid of an officer for other reasons, or they decide to allow the occasional conviction just to keep the peace.

        Now, perhaps this isn't how it'll go in China, perhaps they're actually less corrupt than the US...but this policy doesn't really demonstrate that yet...

    • (Score: 2) by fido_dogstoyevsky on Friday August 05 2016, @05:29AM

      by fido_dogstoyevsky (131) <{axehandle} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday August 05 2016, @05:29AM (#384388)

      Does anyone really believe that the Chinese government says has any relation to what it does?

      No, it's no different to the US, British or Australian governments. Or any large multinational company. Or almost any company, come to that.

      --
      It's NOT a conspiracy... it's a plot.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by GungnirSniper on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:12PM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:12PM (#384243) Journal

    Outside of the bathroom there is no legally accepted expectation of privacy in the workplace. Your employer can and likely does read your email, monitors your surfing, maybe even your smoke breaks and bathroom trips. This is all legal. So why should the employees of We The People expect better rights than we ourselves have?

    Then again we don't have pensions or 37.5 hour workweeks, so something has to give at some point.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05 2016, @03:04PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05 2016, @03:04PM (#384494)

      Not true in the UK - sysadmin has to ask permission before accessing user data.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04 2016, @09:20PM (#384247)

    At least this is a step in the right direction. I think the US needs to publicly declare the same thing. I have a suspicion that quite a few police beatings / killings are mercenary hit jobs. Company doesn't like the public attention the environmental scientists is bringing? Pay off some cops to arrest and brutally beat him.

    This same shit goes down in the US, we are known for being one of the more corrupt countries. Maybe its just that such police "services" are very expensive so we don't get as many blatant examples of it. Or we just don't hear about them for some reason...