Here are the states that require, in some or all circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation before that conversation can be taped. The statutes differ, however. Maryland requires the consent of all parties for taping a conversation. In Connecticut, one needs the consent of all parties to record a telephone conversation, but an in-person conversation can be recorded with the consent of only one party. The California law requires consent of all parties when the conversation is a confidential one. Conversations in public places, where no one would expect confidentiality, may be recorded with the consent of only one party.
Here is a list of states where the consent of more than one party is required for recording conversations in at least some circumstances and the relevant statutes. Because of the complexity of the issue, reporters should read the statutes of their states and, if the situation seems tricky, consult a lawyer.
- California: Cal. Penal Code §632
- Connecticut: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-570d
- Florida: Fla. Stat. § 934.03(2)(d)
- Illinois: 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-1 and 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-2(a)(1)
- Maryland: Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402
- Massachusetts: Mass. Ann. Laws Ch. 272, § 99(C)
- Michigan: Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539c and Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.540
- Montana: Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213
- Nevada: Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 200.620, 200.650
- New Hampshire: N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 570-A:1
- Pennsylvania: 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5704
- Washington: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.73.030
Although the Illinois law remains on the books, its constitutionality has been called into question. A state circuit judge has said the law prohibits recording conversations even in situations when the participants had no reasonable expectation of privacy, such as at a public meeting.
Sometimes a reporter in a state that requires the consent of only one party to a conversation for recording calls a person in a state that requires the consent of all parties. In that situation, which law applies? Reporters should assume it will be the more restrictive law and get the consent of all parties before recording.