Note: This page covers information specific to Illinois. For general information concerning the use of recording devices see the Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings section of this guide.
Illinois Wiretapping Law
Illinois's wiretapping law is a "two-party consent" law. Illinois makes it a crime to use an "eavesdropping device" to overhear or record a phone call or conversation without the consent of all parties to the conversation. The law defines an "eavesdropping device" as "any device capable of being used to hear or record oral conversation or intercept, retain, or transcribe electronic communication whether such conversation or electronic communication is conducted in person, by telephone, or by any other means." 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/14-1, -2. If you are operating in Illinois, you should always get the consent of all parties before recording an in-person conversation or telephone call. In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating the Illinois wiretapping statute can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.
While you generally are permitted to photograph or record video of people without permission in most public places, it is illegal in Illinois to "videotape, photograph, or film" people without their consent in "a restroom, tanning bed, or tanning salon, locker room, changing room or hotel bedroom." 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/26-4(a) (scroll down).
Consult The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: Illinois for more information on Illinois wiretapping lawyer.
Illinois Law on Recording Court Hearings and Public Meetings
In Illinois state trial courts, the use of sound and video recording devices is prohibited except by an order of the Illinois Supreme Court. Use of recording devices is permitted in hearings of the state appellate courts, but you must notify the clerk of the court at least five days in advance, and the appellate court may choose to prohibit recording. If media coverage is permitted, only one television and one still camera will be allowed at any given time.
Federal courts in Illinois, both at the trial and appellate level, prohibit the use of sound and video recording devices in the courtroom.
For information on your right of access to court proceedings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of the guide.
A provision of the Illinois open meetings law states that "any person may record the proceedings at meetings required to be open by this Act by tape, film or other means." The statute goes on, however, to say that the authority holding the meeting shall make "reasonable rules to govern the right to make such recordings." 5 Ill Comp. Stat. 120/2.05 (scroll down).
For information on your right of access to public meetings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of the guide and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Open Government Guide: Illinois.