Judge says no permission needed to record on-line chats

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Judge Says No Permission Needed to Record Online Chats

Spokane, Washington-AP -- A judge in Washington state has ruled that online computer chatrooms don't have the same privacy protections as private telephone calls.

Therefore, the judge says police don't need court permission to record online chats.

The ruling allows prosecutors to pursue charges of second-degree attempted rape against a man accused of contacting a Spokane police detective posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Washington state's Privacy Act requires consent of both parties before conversations made over ``any electronic device'' can be recorded.

But Judge Kathleen O'Connor ruled that police are not required to notify the other party while recording or transcribing remarks sent between computer users. She says chat participants already know that the computer is a transmission and recording device.

Defense lawyers say they may appeal.

-- Plaid chemistry (teacher@the.lab), December 25, 1999

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