Law: Reach Out and Tape Someone

A federal lawsuit seeks privacy protection for cordless phones

Don't talk about good neighbors to Scott Tyler -- especially on the telephone. First two of his neighbors in Dixon, Iowa, accidentally eavesdropped on his private telephone calls. Then, mistakenly believing Tyler was discussing drug deals, they informed the county sheriff's office. Supplied by an investigator with recording equipment, the neighbors proceeded to tape more than 20 cassettes of Tyler's phone conversations over the next few months. Although they never turned up a shred of evidence about drug sales, the tapes did help raise suspicion about some illegal personal business dealings.

In 1984 Tyler was tried and convicted for theft and...

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