When are Internet Communications not Electronic Communications?

BRIEF_Oct_Nov2007I was the lead article editor for the November 2007 issue of The Brief [pdf, 5.6Mb], the DuPage County Bar Association’s legal journal. Do not be fooled by the gangster-like poses on the cover; the issue is packed with excellent content. As a lead issue editor I was responsable for obtaining and editing the content, specifically the lead articles for this issue. I want to thank all the contributors that made bringing this issue together a smooth operation.

You can find my lead article’s editor introduction on page 1. Also on page 32, you’ll find my article titled, “When are Internet Communications not ’Electronic Communications’ under the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute?”1 The article challenges the proposition presented in a May 2004 Illinois Bar Journal article,2 which indicated a law enforcement official’s act of saving a copy of an internet chat conversation might constitute eavesdropping if done without a warrant. The analysis turns on the definition of “electronic communications” under the eavesdropping statute. An internet chat conversation is generally understood to be an electronic communication, however it is not an electronic communication in this senario according to the definition in the eavesdropping statute.


1.Eric R. Waltmire, When are Internet Communications not “Electronic Communications” under the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute? 20 The Brief, Nov. 2007, at 32.

2 Helen Gunnarsson, No Police “Eavesdropping” on Sexual Predators – Even in Cyberspace? 92 ILL.B.J. 238 (2004).