August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): An individual who is a party to either an in-person conversation or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents, unless the person is doing so for the purpose of committing a criminal or tortious act. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702 (2012).

In-person conversations: The consent of at least one party to a conversation is required to record an “oral communication,” which is defined as “any oral communication uttered by a person who reasonably expects and circumstances justify the expectation that the communication is not subject to interception but does not include any electronic communication.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-701. Thus, a journalist does not need consent to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Electronic communications: The consent of at least one party to any telephone communication is required to record it. And 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 messages sent between wireless devices. Id.

Hidden cameras: It is a felony to photograph or record, in a “clandestine, surreptitious, prying or secretive nature,” a person in an enclosed place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to use a camera or any other recording device, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-4-304. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of such recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

Criminal penalties: Illegally recording an in-person conversation or electronic communication is a felony offense. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702.

Civil suits: Civil suits to recover damages are available only against individuals who, authorized by court order to record communications, disclose to anyone the existence of that recording or surveillance or device used to accomplish it. Id.

Disclosing recordings: Disclosing the contents of a communication obtained through illegal recording is a felony. Id.