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Wyoming

Reporter's Recording Guide

Last updated June 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. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702.

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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 who reasonably expects and circumstances justify the expectation that the communication is not subject to interception.” Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 7-3-701, 7-3-702. Thus, consent is not required to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

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Telephone and electronic communications

The consent of at least one party to any telephone conversation is required to record it. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702. 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. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-701.

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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, or to use a camera or any other recording device to “up-skirt,” “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record a 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 (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. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702.

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Civil suits

Anyone whose in-person, telephone or electronic conversation has been recorded or disclosed in violation of the law can bring a civil suit to recover the greater of actual damages or $1,000 a day for each day of the violation and can also recover punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-710(a).

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Disclosing recordings

Disclosing the contents of an in-person, telephone or electronic conversation obtained through illegal recording is a felony. Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702.

If a journalist received an illegally recorded conversation and was not involved in the illegal conduct, the First Amendment likely protects the publication of such material, to the extent it is a matter of public concern and truthful. See Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001). For more information, see this guide’s introductory chapter here.

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Right to record government officials in public

A growing consensus of courts have recognized a constitutional right to record government officials engaged in their duties in a public place. This First Amendment right to record generally encompasses both video and audio recording. For more information on the right to record broadly, see this guide’s introductory chapter here.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which includes Wyoming, has not yet held that the First Amendment protects the right to record. In Frasier v. Evans, the court held that the right was not clearly established as of August 2014, but it declined to determine whether the right exists moving forward. Frasier v. Evans, 992 F.3d 1003, 1019 (10th Cir. 2021), petition for cert. filed, No. 21-57 (U.S. July 8, 2021).

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