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Indiana

Reporter's Recording Guide

Last updated May 2020

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Summary

Indiana bars the recording or interception of any telephonic or electronic communication without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. It is not clear whether a journalist also needs at least one party’s consent before recording in-person conversations.

The state also prohibits disclosure of images intercepted in violation of its video voyeurism law.

Violators can face both civil and criminal penalties.

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In-person conversations

The state’s interception statute does not address the recording of in-person conversations.

Indiana’s surveillance statute, however, makes it a misdemeanor for a person to record “images or data of any kind” with a camera or other device while unattended on the private property of another person without that person’s consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-46-8.5-1. It is unclear if “data of any kind” would include the contents of oral conversations.

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Telephone and electronic communications

The statute makes it a felony to intercept or record any telephone or electronic communication using a device unless at least one party gives their consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-31.5-2-176, -33.5-5-5(b).

Because the provision of the statute dealing with electronic communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, oral communication, digital information, or intelligence of any nature” made “by a wire, a radio, or an electromagnetic, a photoelectronic, or a photo-optical system,” consent likewise is required from at least one party to disclose the contents of text or email messages sent between wireless devices. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-31.5-2-110.

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Hidden cameras

Under Indiana’s surveillance law, it is a misdemeanor for one to place a camera or other equipment that records “images or data of any kind while unattended on the private property of another person” without that person’s consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-46-8.5-1.

The state’s video voyeurism law makes it a felony to secretly record images—either still or video—inside the dwelling of another person or inside areas where occupants might be expected to disrobe, such as restrooms and dressing rooms, without the occupants’ consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(c). Additionally, the voyeurism law makes it a misdemeanor to record images of the private bodily areas of a person without consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(d).

The voyeurism law also prohibits the use of drones to secretly record images or audio of people in their residences or on the land around their residences if they are in a location not visible by the public. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(g).

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Criminal penalties

Knowingly or intentionally intercepting a communication in violation of Indiana’s interception law is a felony punishable by one to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-33.5-5-5(b).

Misdemeanor violations of the state’s surveillance and video voyeurism laws are punishable by one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-3-2. A felony charge of the voyeurism law carries penalties of six months to three years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-50-2-7.

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Civil suits

Civil liability for intercepting the contents of a confidential electronic communication in violation of the state’s wiretapping law may require the payment of actual damages, $100 for each day of the violation or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus punitive damages, court costs and attorney’s fees. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-33.5-5-4.

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Disclosing recordings

The state’s video voyeurism law makes it a felony offense to publish, transmit or post online illegal images of the subject’s private bodily area or any images captured from a drone of people in or near their residences without their consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(e), (h).

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