Rhode Island Recording Law Summary:
Is Rhode Island a One Party Consent State?
Rhode Island recording law stipulates that it is a one-party consent state. In Rhode Island, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record or share use communications, whether they are wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication. This means that in Rhode Island, you are legally allowed to record a conversation if you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties, barring any criminal intentions. It is also lawful to share the details of a conversation that has become widely circulated or available to the public. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-35-21 (2012).
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You may not record or share conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
However, Rhode Island law does make an exception in cases where the person or people communicating are doing so in an environment where they should not be under the expectation of privacy. R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-5.1-1.
If you are a third-party and require consent from the parties taking part in the conversation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that you may gain consent to make a recording by:
- Getting verbal or written consent prior to the recording being made.
- A verbal notification being played before the conversation begins. (For example: “This phone call is being recorded for quality control purposes…”).
- An audible beep tone being repeated at steady intervals during the duration of the conversation.
Rhode Island Video Recording Laws
It is considered video voyeurism, for sexual gratification purposes, to:
- Use, install or permit the installation or use of an imaging device to capture, record, store or transmit visual images of another person’s intimate parts without the knowledge and consent of that person and in circumstances in which the person concerned has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
- Intentionally and knowingly disseminate, publish or sell materials obtained in violation of the law mentioned above without the consent of the person(s) depicted in the materials.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11‐64‐2(1)
- Use an imaging device to look into an occupied dwelling or other building for the purpose of getting images of the interior of the building. R.I. Gen. Laws § 11‐64‐2(2)
For example, it is illegal to point your security camera to look into the interior of your neighbor’s house. Also, installing or using a camera inside a changing room or restroom is illegal because people using such rooms have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-35-21: Recording a conversation in violation of Rhode Island law is an offense subject to up to five years in prison.
R.I. Gen. Laws § 11‐64‐2(3): Video voyeurism is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $5000, or both.