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Kansas

Reporter's Recording Guide

Last updated May 2020

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Summary

Kansas bars the recording, interception, use or disclosure of any private conversation without the consent of at least one party to the conversation.

The state also prohibits the recording and disclosure of images captured illegally with a hidden camera.

Violators can face both civil and criminal penalties.

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In-person conversations

The state’s privacy law makes it a misdemeanor to secretly use any device to listen to, record or amplify a private conversation in a private place "without the consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy therein.” Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(4). The Kansas Supreme Court has interpreted this, however, to require only one party’s consent; once one party provides consent, the non-consenting parties lose their right to challenge the recording. State v. Roudybush, 686 P.2d 100, 108 (Kan. 1984).

The law also prohibits a person from entering a private place with the intent to secretly listen to private conversations there. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(3).

The law defines a “private place” as somewhere a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(f). Therefore, one does not need consent to record conversations in public and in other places in which the parties do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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Telephone and electronic communications

The state’s breach of privacy law makes it a misdemeanor to intercept any message sent “by telephone, telegraph, letter or other means of private communication” without the consent of at least one party to the communication. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(1).

A Kansas intermediate appellate court has held that the interception must occur while the message is in transit—such as through a telephone wiretap—and thus found that reviewing emails months after they were sent did not violate the law. State v. Brooks, 265 P.3d 1175, 1190 (Kan. Ct. Apps. 2011), rev'd on other grounds, 317 P.3d 54 (Kan. 2014).

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Hidden cameras

It is a felony to install or use a hidden camera to film or photograph a person who is nude or in a state of undress without the person’s consent in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation such filming would not take place. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(6).

The law also prohibits the concealed photography and video recordings of an individual’s body either under or through that person’s clothing without that person’s knowledge or consent. Id.

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Criminal penalties

Illegally recording, intercepting or divulging the contents of any private communications is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a court fine of up to $2,500. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6602, -6611.

Secretly taking video images in violation of the law is a felony punishable by 15 to 17 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000, with even harsher penalties for disseminating the images. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21--6611, -6804.

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Civil suits

Anyone whose confidential oral, wire or electronic communications are intercepted, disclosed or used in violation of the state’s laws may recover in a civil suit the payment of actual damages, $100 per day or $1,000, whichever is greater, plus potential punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other litigation costs. Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2518.

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Disclosing recordings

Divulging the existence or contents of any type of private communication without the consent of at least one party is a misdemeanor if the person knows the message was intercepted illegally. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(2).

Disseminating any video, photo or image taken with a concealed camera used to take nude images of another person without consent is a felony. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6101(a)(7), -(b)(3). The statute also prohibits the dissemination of video or photos of an identifiable person who is nude or engaged in sexual activity for the purpose of harassment or intimidation, but this prohibition specifically excludes dissemination done for “a bona fide and lawful scientific, educational, governmental, news or other similar public purpose.” Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6101(a)(8), (e).

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