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Idaho

Reporter's Recording Guide

Last updated May 2020

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Summary

An individual may record or disclose the contents of an in-person, telephone or electronic communication if he or she is a party to the communication or has received prior consent from one of the parties.

The state provides both civil and criminal penalties for violators.

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In-person conversations

At least one party must give consent before someone can record an in-person conversation in Idaho. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702(2)(d). Consent, however, is not required to record an in-person communication spoken by a person who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that communication. See definition of “oral communication,” Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6701(2).

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Telephone and electronic communications

Recording conversations over wire or electronic communications — such as telephones, including cellphones — is allowed with the consent of at least one party to the conversation. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702(2)(d).

Because the provision of the statute dealing with electronic communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature,” consent likewise is required from at least one party to disclose the contents of text or email messages sent between electronic devices. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6701(10).

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Hidden cameras

The state’s video voyeurism law prohibits the installation of any devices capable of recording, storing or transmitting visual images to secretly view, broadcast or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent in an area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6609(2). This statute only applies, however, when the person records “with the intent of arousing, appealing to or gratifying the lust or passions or sexual desires of such person or another person, or for his own or another person’s lascivious entertainment or satisfaction of prurient interest.” Id.

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Criminal penalties

Illegally recording, intercepting or disclosing oral, wire or electronic communications is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and as much as $5,000 in fines. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702. Violation of the state’s video voyeurism laws carry penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment and $50,000 in fines. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-112.

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Civil suits

Anyone whose communications have been illegally intercepted, disclosed or used may recover actual and punitive damages, along with attorney’s fees and litigation costs. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6709.

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Disclosing recordings

A person may not disclose or use the contents of any illegally intercepted communication if that person either knows or has reason to know it was obtained illegally. §§ 18-6702(2)(c), (d).

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