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Indiana Bill Criminalizing Undercover Recording in Businesses Fails in the House
Posted in Government

clientuploads/Publications/Blog and Article Photos/investigation.jpgA heavily debated bill that would have criminalized a wide variety of activities commonly used by average citizens to expose allegedly improper or unsavory business practices failed in the final days of Indiana’s 2013 legislative session.

Senate Bill 373 would have made it a misdemeanor offense for anyone without a contractual interest in the property of another person to enter such property and commit any act “with the intent to harm any business that operates on the real property.” While the bill specifically disfavored the taking of “surreptitious photographs or videos” with the kinds of high-tech recording devices that are becoming increasingly common in today’s society, the language was also broad enough to outlaw much simpler acts, such as asking questions or taking notes.

Although the bill did pass the Senate by a vote of 29-21, it was withdrawn by its House sponsor before the full House of Representatives could vote on it. Based on the amount of bipartisan opposition in the House, businesses and citizens alike should expect that any future attempts to pass a similar measure will need to be more narrowly tailored in order to succeed. The issue of “Trespassing for the purpose of harming a business, and making video images of a business with the intent to falsely portray the operations of a business” has been assigned to the Interim Study Committee on Economic Development for analysis prior to the 2014 legislative session.

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