Reporter's Recording Guide
Last updated October 2019Compare
Connecticut requires at least one party’s consent to record an in-person conversation. For telephonic conversations, consent of all parties is required to avoid potential civil liability, though criminal penalties do not apply if at least one party has consented to the recording.
The state’s voyeurism law prohibits taking visual images of another person without that person’s consent or knowledge when there is an expectation of privacy.Compare
A person not present at a conversation must obtain the consent of at least one participant before any recording can take place under the state’s eavesdropping law. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-187, -189.Compare
Telephone and electronic communications
The state’s eavesdropping law makes it a crime to record a phone conversation without the consent of at least one party to the call. Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 53a-187, -189.
The state also imposes civil penalties for recording telephone calls without first obtaining all parties’ consent either in writing or verbally (and recorded), or with a recorded warning that the conversation is being recorded. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-570d.Compare
The state’s voyeurism law prohibits knowingly photographing, filming or recording in any way another person’s image without consent where the person is unaware of the filming, not in plain view, and has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-189a.Compare
Violation of the state’s eavesdropping and voyeurism laws, as well as the dissemination of images in violation of the law, are all felonies punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a, -41.Compare
Recording a telephone conversation without the consent of all parties subjects an individual to liability for damages, as well as litigation costs and attorney’s fees. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-570d(c).Compare
Connecticut prohibits disseminating recorded images of another person in violation of the state’s voyeurism law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-189b.
If a journalist received an illegally recorded conversation and was not involved in the illegal conduct, the First Amendment likely protects the publication of such material, to the extent it is a matter of public concern and truthful. See Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001). For more information, see this guide’s introductory chapter here.Compare
Right to record government officials in public
A growing consensus of courts have recognized a constitutional right to record government officials engaged in their duties in a public place. This First Amendment right to record generally encompasses both video and audio recording. For more information on the right to record broadly, see this guide’s introductory chapter here.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes Connecticut, has not yet directly addressed the First Amendment right to record.Compare