Can you record a conversation in your own hotel room without the consent of another party?

This is regarding a hotel in IL wherein Guest A willingly comes into Guest B’s room. If guest B is concerned about safety and also wants proof of the meeting and conversation, is it illegal to record the meeting without Guest A’s knowing? What if the parties end up having consensual sex? Can the video be shown privately, not as revenge porn but proof it happened.

Asked on August 18, 2019 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) Recording sound (audio) without the other party's consent would be completely illegal in all places and contexts in IL. IL is what is called a "two-party consent" state, though the better term would be "all-party consent" state: every person who is in the conversation or speaking must consent or agree to the recording, or else it is the crime commonly known as "wiretapping."
2) Videotaping without sound is sometimes legal: it depends on the situation and whether the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy or not. Videoing in public (e.g. a street, a hotel lobby) where people expect to be observed by others is legal; but videotaping somewhere where and when they reasonably expect privacy--such as in a hotel room, and especially if they are or had a reasonable expectation of engaging in sexual activity, which is expected to be private--would be an illegal invasion of their privacy.
A better idea that recording a person who you do not trust in a private meeting in a hotel room is to not have a private meeting in a hotel room with a person you do not trust.


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