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Oklahoma

Reporter's Recording Guide

Last updated April 2020

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Summary

An individual who is a party to an in-person, telephone or electronic conversation, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the conversation, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents, unless the person is doing so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act. Okla. Stat. tit. 13, § 176.4.

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In-person conversations

The consent of at least one party to a conversation is required to record any oral communication “uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstance justifying such expectation.” Okla. Stat. tit. 13, §§ 176.2, 176.4. Thus, consent is not required to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. However, the law criminalizes “secret loitering around any building with the intent to overhear discourse therein” and to “repeat or publish” such discourse “to vex, annoy, or injure others.” Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1202.

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Telephone and electronic communications

The consent of at least one party to any telephone conversation is required to record it. Okla. Stat. tit. 13, § 176.4. And because the provision of the law dealing with wireless communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature,” consent likewise is required to disclose the contents of text messages sent between wireless devices. Okla. Stat. tit. 13, § 176.2.

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Hidden cameras

It is a felony to photograph or record, “in a clandestine manner for any illegal, illegitimate, prurient, lewd or lascivious purpose,” a person in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy and to disclose any images obtained by these means, and a misdemeanor to clandestinely photograph or record the “private area” of a person, regardless of whether the person is in a public or private place. Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1171. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (e.g., filming conversations on public streets or in a hotel lobby).

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Criminal penalties

Illegally recording an in-person, telephone or electronic conversation is a felony offense. Okla. Stat. tit. 13, § 176.3.

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Civil suits

The law does not authorize civil lawsuits against violators.

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Disclosing recordings

Disclosing the contents of an oral, telephone or electronic conversation obtained through illegal recording is a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 13, § 176.3. And repeating or publishing the contents of a discussion or conversation overheard while secretly loitering around a building is a misdemeanor, when done with intent to “vex, annoy, or injure others.” Okla. Stat.  tit. 21, § 1202.

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