When Is It Legal to Record Telephone Calls?

Recording telephone calls and in-person conversations is a common practice of undercover private investigators as well as aggressive investigative journalists. Such recordings can make or break a case or investigation.

In fact, most private investigators view undercover recording as an indispensable tool in their arsenal. However, others don't use recordings because of the complex legal risks that it creates.

There are important questions of law that must be fully understood before developing a consistent policy about making and using undercover recordings. Both federal and state statutes govern the use of electronic recording equipment. The unlawful use of such equipment can give rise not only to civil lawsuits brought by the "harmed" parties, but also criminal prosecution is possible.

Accordingly, it is critical that investigators, lawyers and journalists fully understand all the laws that may apply to a given set of circumstances, and appreciate what their rights and responsibilities are when recording and disclosing communications.

Although many of the relevant statutes address wiretapping and eavesdropping ( ie, listening in on conversations of others without their knowledge), these same laws may apply to recording of any conversations, including phone calls and in-person discussions.

Federal law generally allows recording of telephone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the call. A majority of the states and territories have adopted wiretapping statutes based on this federal law, although most also have extended the law to cover in-person conversations.

Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia permit individuals to record conversations to which they are a party, without expressly informing the other parties that they are doing so. These states are generally referred to as "one-party consent" states, and as long as the investigator (or the person doing the recording) is a party to the conversation, it is legal for him to record it.

Twelve other states require, under most circumstances, the consent of ALL parties to a conversation. Those jurisdictions are California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Regardless of the specific jurisdiction involved, it is almost always illegal to record a conversation to which you are NOT a party, do not have consent to tape, and could not naturally overhear in a public place.

Additionally, complex legal concerns can arise when interstate telephone calls are recorded by one of the parties to the call. For example, an investigator located in New York State who records a telephone conversation without the consent of a party located in Illinois would not violate New York State law, but could be civilly and even criminally liable under Illinois law.

A court located in New York State may even apply Illinois' laws, depending on its "conflict of laws" rules. Therefore, an aggrieved party may choose to file suit or a criminal complaint in either jurisdiction, depending on which law is ultimately more favorable to the party's claim (and where jurisdiction lies).

Additionally, federal law may apply when the conversation is between parties who are in different states, although it is unsettled whether a court will hold in a given case that federal law preempts state law.

Therefore, in light of the complex laws governing electronic recording of conversations between private parties, private investigators are strongly advised to err on the side of caution when recording or disclosing an interstate telephone call.

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The Most Watched Races in North America

The pressure of many environmental groups and regular consumers around the continent has created trouble for many industries. Hybrid cars are slowly becoming a major product in the automotive industry, clean energies are trying to push away petrol and gas… there is one industry, though, that is still alive and loved by many: racing. Many championships still take place every year in North America and the cars are far from being hybrid vehicles! It’s sometimes a bit hard for a newcomer to understand which are the «real» races to watch. Here are a few tips.

NASCAR

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was founded in the ’40s by Sir William France. After a driver named Bill France organized a championship in 1947 (the NCSCC, National Championship Stock Car Circuit), a bunch of men regrouped together and decided of the rules that would govern the championships. At the time, 3 different series were launched: Modified Cars, Roadsters and Strickly Stock. Eventually, things evolved and NASCAR now boasts seven sanctioned series.

The most competitive one is by far the Sprint Cup, which regroups 36 races over a period of 10 months. The best racers of the circuit are known to win millions of dollars because of their sponsorships, and they are adored by racing fans all around United States (NASCAR being less popular in Canada). Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards are amongst the big names of the series.

As for the biggest single race in NASCAR, it is definitely the Daytona 500, sometimes called the «Super Bowl of NASCAR».

Formula 1

Being outmatched in popularity by NASCAR in the United States, Formula 1 is probably Canada’s preferred championship because of the Montreal Grand Prix. This event was, in 2005, the world’s 3rd most watched sporting event after the Superbowl and the UEFA championship; it draws a lot of international attention. F1 is also a very old championship and its races are spread all over the continents, with Grand Prix recently added in Bahrein and China.

The Grand Prix is said to have attracted close to 300 000 tourists in its best years. Lots of international celebrities are known to attend the event and enjoy the crazy Montreal nightlife during the three days race weekend. The Montreal Grand Prix is also an unforgiving race because of its sharp turns and its «Wall of Champions», which is known to have caused many crashes over the years within the best drivers of the circuit. The race is held on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: the circuit also hosted a NASCAR event in 2007.

IndyCar racing

It is hard to determine the 3rd position in this top 3 since NASCAR and Formula 1 thrive in their respective countries. IndyCar, though, is a respectable racing championship that also draws a lot of attention. It merged with CART (Champ Car World Series) in 2007 and it is broadcasted on NBC and ABC, two major networks in the US, as well as by Sportsnet in Canada. Even United Kingdom inhabitants have the opportunity to watch these competitions, though, through the Sky Sports networks.

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World Cup Goalkeepers – Zeljko Kalac, Australia

Zeljko Kalac is an Australian goalkeeper of Croatian descent who made his international debut in 1992. Since then he has played in over 50 international games, his most celebrated stint being with AC Milan.

Known as the Spider on account of his two meter plus frame and flailing arms, Kalac started his career with Sydney United. He later moved to Leicester in Europe but it was not an eventful sojourn.

A call to Roda JC, a little later, gave Kalac the push he needed. The Dutch side reached the last 16 of the UEFA Cup in 2002, and Kalac moved to Serie A with Perugia. Luck smiled on Kalac when Perugia’s fortunes dipped, and Kalac found himself as the back up keeper to the celebrated Dida in the AC Milan goal.

An ankle injury to Dida brought Kalac into his own. Besides Champions League, Kalac got a chance to play in Coppa Italia. The preparations for World Cup 2006 saw Kalac being summoned to do national duty, as deputy to Mark Schwarzer.

Kalac may not be number one goalkeeper of the Socceroos but he certainly is one of the most experienced goalkeepers in the game. He is also the most reliable, and can be expected to keep most forwards at bay.

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Lionel Messi – The Greatest Footballer Ever?

The footballing world watched on in utter amazement and delight yesterday as Messi's Barcelona put 7 goals past a hapless Bayer Leverkusen side in a UEFA Champions League game at the Nou Camp. For the first time ever, we saw one person score 5 goals in a Champions league game and it so happened to be no other person than Lionel Messi.

Yes, the number of goals may be a new record which I think he can better in the years ahead, but it's more the manner and the sheer class with which he scored the goals that made many a football enthusiast admire this rare talent that has emerged in this generation.

Of course, we all knew about his ability already but his display yesterday has put him in another League. The way in which he made the difficult act of scoring spectacular goals look so easy was just a joy to watch. One was a left foot lob, another a delightful right foot lob, then a careful control from an acute angel, a laser-guided placement with his left foot and then a drive through a number of opposing players. His unique sense of picking the right moments in games to do what he does best is simply quite extraordinary.

He has often been compared with the Legendary Pele and his fellow country man Diego Maradona as to who is the greatest player ever but I will dare to say that even these legends will secretly admit that it's just a matter of time before this boy from the backside of Rosario, Argentina supersedes their achievements if he hasn't already done so. Considering the fact that Messi is only 24 years of age and has at least 10 years of top flight football in him, the prospect of what he could achieve can be incredible.

It's almost inconceivable that the world would never have seen what happened yesterday had it not been for the Barcelona scouts who intervened to save his career when he was being given up on. River Plate, one of the biggest clubs in the Argentine First Division who wanted to sign him from Newell Old Boys Club in Rosario, soon discovered that his inability to endure playing for 90 minutes was due to the absence of a growth hormone that hindered his normal physical development as a person. He looked so tiny for his age at the time that, they were not sure if he could develop physically to meet the demands of the modern game even though his talent was never in dispute. The money needed to put him on a special dieting program was just too much they couldn't afford it. They gave up on him but thankfully, he was spotted and taken to Barcelona's La Masia's training academy and the rest, they say, is history.

Talking about humble beginnings, his first contract was signed on a white handkerchief because his Dad was so frustrated with the directors of Barcelona at the time due to their indecision about his son's future that, he gave Charles Rexach, the Director of football at the time a brief window of opportunity to make up his mind. Either they give him an answer there and then or forget about Messi forever once they fly back to Argentina. His exploits today has proven that it doesn't matter where you begin in life but rather, it's about you believing in your unique abilities and giftings given to you by God regardless of your size, age, race or gender.

As great as the current Barcelona team is at the moment, it is my firm conviction that if you pluck Messi out of this team, they would not have achieved as much as they have. He brings a certain quality to the team which puts them way above any other team at the moment. When games are tight, he is the only one that can come up with some special instinctive play capable of breaking down opposing teams whereby creating opportunities to score goals.

The flip side of the above argument is that, even the greatest players will find it very difficult to perform at their optimum when they are either surrounded by mediocre players or the team they find themselves in doesn't play to their strengths. This may well be the reason why he is yet to hit the same dizzy heights with the Argentine National Team as he's done time and time again with his Club side.

With all that he's achieve so far, hearing him speak just makes you believe why he may go on to accomplish much more. He seems to exude this important virtue of humility which is vital not only to help get you to the top of your game but more importantly, to stay there. There isn't any air of "superstardom" about him. His lifestyle is just simple, both on and off the pitch. I'm yet to hear any news about Messi involved in any "off the pitch" incidents that you so often associate with English Premiership players. He just seems to enjoy playing in huge stadia as much as he did when he played on the streets of Rosario.

So is he the greatest player ever? The legendary Pele seems to think he is the best by far in the world at the moment. Most football Managers, fellow professionals and the football community at large seem to think he is the best ever even though he's yet to lead Argentina to Word Cup glory. I would not dispute that either. I think we haven't seen the best of him yet. He is simply sublime.

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