August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): An individual may record or disclose the contents of a wire, oral 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.

In-person conversations: At least one party must give consent in order to record an in-person conversation. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702.

Electronic communications: Similarly, using a device to record conversations over electronic communications such as telephones is allowed with the consent of at least one party to the conversation. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702. Because the provision of the statute 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 or e-mail messages sent between wireless devices. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6701(10).

Hidden cameras: The state’s video voyeurism laws prohibit 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). The use of such cameras and publication or dissemination of images captured are felonies.

Criminal penalties: Punishment for the felony of an illegal interception or disclosure can include 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.

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

Disclosing recordings: A person who intercepts a private conversation cannot knowingly disclose or use the information without consent of at least one party. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 18-6702(c), (d).