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Recording Laws in Illinois: What You Need to Know

The Illinois Recording Law: Know Your Rights and Obligations

Are you aware of the laws regarding recording conversations in Illinois? Whether you are selling products, conducting investigations, or simply curious, it is essential to be conscious of what the State of Illinois allows and restricts.

Here’s what you need to know about the Illinois Recording Law.

Consent Requirement

Illinois is known to be a two-party consent state, meaning that all parties must be aware of and agree to be recorded before any recording can take place. This applies to wire, oral, electronic communication, and conversations of any kind.

This law extends not only to phone conversations, but also to in-person discussions and electronic emails, texts, and chats. Failure to obtain consent from all parties is a criminal offense, and offenders can face fines and imprisonment.

It’s critical to emphasize that this regulation applies even if the participants consent to the recording after the fact.


It’s imperative to note that not every situation is covered by the two-party consent requirement. In instances where conversations take place in public areas, each participant should understand that the conversations are not private, and therefore recordings do not come under the two-party consent requirement.

Additionally, police interactions are exempt since police officers are public servants operating in official roles in the public interest. If you are in a public area and come across a government official, like a city inspector or code enforcement officer, you can still record them without consent since they are carrying out public duties.

So, while Illinois recognizes that all conversations are presumed to be private, reasonable expectations of privacy must exist for the two-party consent law to apply.

Surreptitious Recording

Surreptitious recording occurs when a person covertly records conversations, without getting the consent of the participating parties. This is considered a criminal offense in Illinois, and surety bails are not accepted for such cases.

However, if a participant in the conversation consents to the surreptitious recording, then the two-party consent regulation does not apply. In such cases, obtaining consent from only one party to the conversation is enough.

Criminal Offense

There have been some recent cases in the State of Illinois that shed light on the penalties attached to failure to comply with the two-party consent regulation. For instance, in 2019, a 13-year old was charged with felony eavesdropping after they secretly recorded a meeting with the principal of his school.

If convicted, he could have faced up to three years in prison. The case was eventually dismissed.

With increased awareness of this law, several businesses have settled lawsuits related to recording without first obtaining consent. Recordings obtained without the knowledge of participants are not admissible in court, and as such, businesses have faced dire consequences for unlawfully recording conversations.

Digital Voice Recorders

Recording equipment, particularly digital voice recorders, have become increasingly affordable and accessible over the years, making them easy to use. However, caution is required to avoid legal problems.

Personal Conversations

Recording private conversations is deemed a breach of privacy and Illinois Penal Code now takes this very seriously. State and Federal laws are formulated to support and regulate the fairness and respect of all communication stakeholders involved.

It’s often presumed that anything said in private should remain private, and if someone is caught recording without consent, they can face legal consequences.

Common Situations

Recording in public places is legal, as is recording conversations with public figures who are performing their duties, such as police officers, politicians, and government officials. However, electronic communications over phones and computers are covered by the two-party consent requirement – make sure you have the consent of all participants!

In Conclusion

Illinois Recording Law is vital to know as penalties and fines can belevied when disregarded. Recording software and equipment will continue to evolve, so make sure you keep up with current statutes, rulings, and restrictions.

Although some circumstances offer exceptions, it’s just as essential to know when the consent requirement applies. Keep these guidelines in mind, protect yourself and your clients, and maintain high standards of confidentiality and compliance.

Illinois Video Recording Laws and Recording Phone Calls: What You Need to Know

Video recording is a prevalent practice in today’s world. From tanning salons to hotels and security cameras, there are plenty of opportunities to capture video footage, intentional or not.

However, it’s essential to follow the laws and regulations in Illinois to avoid any legal consequences or liabilities. Here’s what you need to know about Illinois Video Recording Laws and Recording Phone Calls.

Illinois Video Recording Laws

Consent Requirement

Intentional transmission means recording an event or situation with the intention of displaying or sharing it. Under Illinois law, you cannot intentionally video record anyone in the following places without their consent: a restroom, tanning bed, or tanning salon, locker room, changing room, hotel bedroom, or residence.

Additionally, it’s not legal to intentionally video record anyone if your device is concealed in a place where they have reasonable expectations of privacy. This requirement also applies to video footage captured by security cameras installed in buildings and other areas.

While security cameras are legal, you must post a visible sign indicating that the area is under video surveillance, and the surveillance should not extend beyond what’s reasonable to protect your property and customers. When it comes to consent, it’s essential to make sure you have a written and signed document that states the specific type of video footage you plan to capture and how you plan to use it.

Failing to obtain consent can result in severe consequences, including criminal charges and monetary damages.


Unlike the Illinois Recording Law, there are no exceptions to the Illinois Video Recording Law. Even if you accidentally capture video footage, you could still be prosecuted, and the victims could sue you.

Recording Phone Calls in Illinois

Consent Requirement

Illinois is an all-party consent state, which means that all parties involved in an audio recording must give their consent before any recording can take place. It includes telephone calls, whether made through a landline or cell phone, where at least one of the callers is in Illinois.

The recording of an audio call, without the consent of all parties, falls under the restrictions of the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and Illinois state statute 720 ILCS 5/14-2.

It’s not enough to give verbal notice of recording the call.

You must obtain verbal or written consent from all parties involved. If you are using an answering machine or voicemail recording system, you must provide a beep tone at regular intervals so that the caller is aware of the recording.


There are no exceptions to the Illinois Consent Law for recording phone calls. Employers cannot record conversations between their employees, even if they believe they have a right to monitor employee performance.

Federal law allows companies to monitor customer service calls, but they must inform customers at the start of the call that the call may be recorded for training or quality assurance purposes, which still requires consent. Similarly, law enforcement agencies cannot record a call unless they have obtained a warrant, subpoena, or a court order authorizing such recordings.

Recording a police officer during a traffic stop may be legal in other states, but it’s illegal in Illinois and can result in criminal charges.

Final Thoughts

Illinois Video Recording Laws and Recording Phone Calls are in place to protect the privacy and rights of people involved in video or audio recordings. It’s essential to understand the laws and regulations to avoid legal troubles.

Always obtain written or verbal consent before recording any conversation or video, and seek legal counsel if you have any doubts or concerns. Remember, Illinois has strict laws and regulations around recording practices, so make sure to follow them to avoid legal issues and liabilities.

Penalties for Violating Illinois Recording Laws

The State of Illinois takes the violation of the recording laws very seriously, and penalties can range from misdemeanors to felonies, depending on the severity of the crime and the number of offenses committed. Here’s what you need to know about the penalties for violating the Illinois Recording Law and Video Recording Law.

Recording Law Penalties


Violating the two-party consent requirement in Illinois, particularly for intentional surreptitious recording, can result in felony charges. This is particularly true when the recordings involve law enforcement or any other public or government officials.

First offenders can face Class 3 felony charges, which could lead to a maximum imprisonment of five years, fines amounting to $25,000, and several years of probation. Repeat offenders could face Class 2 felony charges, which come with a higher prison sentence of up to seven years, probation for several years, and fines amounting to $25,000.

Law enforcement and other public officials who engage in illegal recording practices may be charged with official misconduct or abuse of office, which can lead to a Class 4 felony conviction. Violators of the distribution/ dissemination law (@50 ILCS 205) can face cognate charges as Class 3 felonies under Illinois law.


Recording a conversation without consent in Illinois is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which attracts a maximum sentence of one year in prison, probation, or fines of up to $2,500. Courts may also impose civil liability for damages caused by the recording, including emotional distress and mental anguish.

For example, in 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against a company for intentionally recording a job applicant’s interview without their consent. The company settled the suit for an undisclosed amount.

Video Recording Law Penalties

Class 4 Felony

Intentional video recording without consent in places where victims have an expectation of privacy is a Class 4 felony under the Illinois Penalties Act 2012. This includes places such as locker rooms, restrooms, changing rooms, hotel bedrooms, and inside a residence.

The violator can face up to three years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and several years of probation.

Class 3 Felony

Recording sexual conduct or exploiting minors without consent can result in Class 3 felony charges. This crime comes with a minimum sentence of two years, but not more than ten years imprisonment, fines not exceeding $25,000, and probation for several years.

Class 2 Felony

Disseminating or leaking sexual content or child pornography can result in Class 2 felony charges. The violator may face up to seven years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and several years of probation.

Additionally, some perpetrators could be listed as sex offenders.

Final Thoughts

The Illinois Recording Law and Video Recording Law are in place to safeguard the privacy of individuals and reduce incidences of cyberbullying and unwanted invasion of privacy. It’s critical to understand the gravity of violating these laws, which can result in several years of imprisonment, fines of up to $25,000, and probation.

It’s essential to ensure that you have obtained written or verbal consent to record any conversation or video, even in public places, and to familiarize yourself with the latest updates and developments regarding these laws. In conclusion, understanding and adhering to Illinois recording laws is crucial to protect both personal privacy and avoid legal consequences.

The two-party consent requirement applies to wire, oral, and electronic communications, with exceptions in public areas and interactions with government officials. Violations can result in fines, imprisonment, and civil liability.

Additionally, intentional video recording in private spaces without consent carries serious penalties, including felony charges and sex offender status. It is essential to obtain consent and stay updated on the latest regulations to ensure compliance and respect for privacy rights.

Always remember, violating recording laws not only puts individuals at risk but also undermines trust and can have lasting consequences.

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