PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — You probably had the urge to record a conversation that could be intense or threatening in some way or a conversation that may have its facts twisted. Some states allow you to do this, as they are considered to be one-party consent states. So is Pennsylvania one of these states?
The short answer is no. Here’s why.
States can either be a one-party consent state or an all-party consent state. A one-party consent state is where only one party of the conversation needs to consent to the recording of it. In these states, individuals are allowed to record conversations without the knowledge or consent of the other party or parties involved
In an all-party consent state, this means that you must have explicit permission to record someone during a private conversation. Pennsylvania falls under this category.
According to Pennsylvania-based MVS&K Law, the definition of a private conversation is vague to encourage consent and to enforce privacy. The law office states if any number of people are talking in a way where it could be reasonably interpreted that one of them wanted privacy, it can be considered a private conversation.
The Pennsylvania code states the following regarding recording conversations:
A person is guilty of a felony of the third degree if he:
(1) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept any wire, electronic or oral communication;
(2) intentionally discloses or endeavors to disclose to any other person the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication; or
(3) intentionally uses or endeavors to use the contents of any wire, electronic or oral communication, or evidence derived therefrom, knowing or having reason to know, that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, electronic or oral communication.Title 18 Chapter 57 Section 5703
MVS&K Law states that this essentially means that someone is guilty of a felony if they intentionally intercept, try to intercept, or have another person intercept an electronic or real communication. So if you are recording someone’s conversation without their knowledge, you are intercepting that conversation on your device.
Other states with two or all-party consent laws include:
- New Hampshire
The entire Pennsylvania code regarding this law can be found here