According to New York law, intercepting or unlawfully engaging in wiretapping without the consent of one party is a felony. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05. Mechanical wiretapping is illegal under the statute only when the party whose wires are tapped is not a party involved in the conversation. However, a party to the conversation may surreptitiously record a conversation.
In addition, those who talk in the presence of a non-participating third party may have no expectation of privacy with respect to statements overheard by the third party. Publication may also constitute the crime of “tampering with private communications,” a misdemeanor. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.25. A person is guilty of this crime when he divulges the contents of a private letter or communication knowing that it has been opened or read. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.25.