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Washington state wiretapping law?

Would holding a sign that states voice and video recording in progress be a form of announcing according to the rcw?

RCW 9.73.030

Intercepting, recording, or divulging private communication — Consent required — Exceptions.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, it shall be unlawful for any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or the state of Washington, its agencies, and political subdivisions to intercept, or record any:

(a) Private communication transmitted by telephone, telegraph, radio, or other device between two or more individuals between points within or without the state by any device electronic or otherwise designed to record and/or transmit said communication regardless how such device is powered or actuated, without first obtaining the consent of all the participants in the communication;

(b) Private conversation, by any device electronic or otherwise designed to record or transmit such conversation regardless how the device is powered or actuated without first obtaining the consent of all the persons engaged in the conversation.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, wire communications or conversations (a) of an emergency nature, such as the reporting of a fire, medical emergency, crime, or disaster, or (b) which convey threats of extortion, blackmail, bodily harm, or other unlawful requests or demands, or (c) which occur anonymously or repeatedly or at an extremely inconvenient hour, or (d) which relate to communications by a hostage holder or barricaded person as defined in RCW 70.85.100, whether or not conversation ensues, may be recorded with the consent of one party to the conversation.

(3) Where consent by all parties is needed pursuant to this chapter, consent shall be considered obtained whenever one party has announced to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted: PROVIDED, That if the conversation is to be recorded that said announcement shall also be recorded.

(4) An employee of any regularly published newspaper, magazine, wire service, radio station, or television station acting in the course of bona fide news gathering duties on a full-time or contractual or part-time basis, shall be deemed to have consent to record and divulge communications or conversations otherwise prohibited by this chapter if the consent is expressly given or if the recording or transmitting device is readily apparent or obvious to the speakers. Withdrawal of the consent after the communication has been made shall not prohibit any such employee of a newspaper, magazine, wire service, or radio or television station from divulging the communication or conversation.

[1986 c 38 § 1; 1985 c 260 § 2; 1977 ex.s. c 363 § 1; 1967 ex.s. c 93 § 1.]

Notes:

Reviser's note: This section was amended by 1985 c 260 § 2 and by 1986 c 38 § 1, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).

Severability -- 1967 ex.s. c 93: "If any provision of this act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1967 ex.s. c 93 § 7.]

Any other rights containing to this would be great. Here in Kelso, WA we are experiencing problems with police arresting citizens for videotaping there actions while on duty.

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  • 8 years ago
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    1) Yes, it would.

    The law is clear. Section 3 says "Where consent by all parties is needed pursuant to this chapter, consent shall be considered obtained whenever one party has announced to all other parties engaged in the communication or conversation, in any reasonably effective manner, that such communication or conversation is about to be recorded or transmitted:" A clearly held sign would be "reasonably effective".

    2) You don't need to anyway.

    The courts have held, over and over, that it is legal to video police in the course of their duties. The cops are out of line to arrest you for it, and they know it. For a discussion of the legal rationale, read "Glik v. City of Boston", from the Federal 1st Circuit, where the Federal appeals court held that the right to video police in the course of their duties was a "clearly established Constitutional right".

    The language "clearly established Constitutional right" is very important.

    In general, police and other government agents have qualified immunity from being sued as individuals for actions that they take in the course of their duties. In other words, if a cop wrongly arrests you, you can sue only the police department, not the individual officer. There is an exception to this general rule, though, and it is that an officer is *personally* liable for a violation of your civil rights if his actions violate a "clearly established Constitutional right". If the officer does something that has been "clearly established" to be illegal, then he loses his immunity, and you can sue him personally, as well as his department.

    In "Glik", Glik was arrested for videotaping (including audio) police arresting a man with what Glik believed to be excessive force. The police arrested Glik under MA's wiretapping law (which is almost identical to WA's). The State court dismissed the criminal charges against Glik on the grounds that the videotaping was clearly legal. Glik then sued the City of Boston - and the police officers themselves - in Federal Court for violating his rights under the 1st and 4th amendment.

    The officers moved the court to dismiss the case against them on the grounds that they had qualified immunity because they had been acting in their official capacities. The District Court held - and the Circuit Court affirmed - that the right to video police in the course of their duties was a "clearly established Constitutional right", and that the officers had therefore knowingly and deliberately violated Glik's Constitutional rights, and were thus not entitled to qualified immunity, but could indeed be held personally liable.

    Richard

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  • 3 years ago

    State Wiretapping Laws

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  • 4 years ago

    Recording laws vary from state to state, and the law has many grey areas. Regardless of the state, it is almost always illegal to record a conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent to tape, and could not naturally overhear.

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