Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2014 NO. 8 >
  1. The Washington Privacy Act, RCW 9.73, does not require the consent of a law enforcement officer to use body cameras attached to police uniforms. A local collective bargaining agreement, however, might limit or prohibit such use.
  2. Conversations between law enforcement officers and members of the public are not generally considered private for purposes of the Privacy Act.
  3. As a general matter, the Privacy Act does not require a law enforcement officer to cease recording a conversation at the request of a citizen, because such conversations are not private to begin with.
  4. In order to use a recording as evidence in a criminal or civil case, the recording would be subject to the same laws and rules governing all evidence, including the requirement that the chain of custody be established to prove no tampering has occurred. Laws relating to the retention and disclosure of public records, including records retention schedules, would govern retention and disclosure of recordings.
  5. RCW 9.73.090 does not limit the use of body cameras to the use of such cameras in conjunction with vehicle-mounted cameras. 
AGO 1988 NO. 12 >

1.When applying the statutory privacy standard in RCW 42.17.255, a public agency may inquire into the purpose for which a record is requested and may use the answer to aid in determining whether the public has a legitimate interest in obtaining the information, but the public agency may not decline to furnish the records for public inspection and copying solely because the requester refuses to furnish a reason for the request.2.A public agency may condition access to a public record containing a list of individuals on the requester's promise that the record will not be used for a commercial purpose, but may not require the requester to enter into a hold harmless agreement to that effect.3.The term "confidential income information" as used in RCW 84.40.020 refers to information that has been communicated in confidence in connection with the assessment of real property pursuant to chapter 84.40 RCW, which has not been publicly disseminated by the taxpayer or made known to more than a limited number of individuals, whose disclosure would either be highly offensive to a reasonable person and not of legitimate concern to the public or would result in unfair competitive disadvantage to the taxpayer.