19 Nov Is It Legal To Record Phone Calls?(Last Updated On: August 10, 2020)
There are many TV series and movies that show our world as a police state where everyone is under observation. The famous book, 1984, was also based on the same subject in which even the thoughts of people weren’t safe from the government and that’s how rebellions ended long before they could begin. But people always assumed that those shows, movies, and books were only trying to scare us, or telling us to avoid reaching that point where none of our actions were private. However, when whistle was blown on the fact that NSA was recording phone calls of people, the truth became clear to people.
Like we handle every serious problem, we turned this situation into a meme too. You can see ‘my FBI agent’ getting mentioned on the internet every day by various people. Since we haven’t seen the consequences of the government tapping our phones, we are not scared by the situation. We know that we are not living in a world controlled by the Big Brother and that’s why we haven’t started panicking about the phone tapping. Another reason why people have stayed silent about the matter is that many times the law enforcement agencies have been able to catch criminals by tapping their phones. When they think there is no other way of getting information from the people they are watching, they have no option but to resort to wiretapping.
However, despite our not showing a huge overreaction, there have still been a bit of reaction about the news. Multiple organizations are working around the globe to ensure that governments start respecting the privacy of its citizens. Some journalists and human rights activists have also not given up on the cause of keeping people’s private information secure. They raise their concerns on various platforms and advice people about how to make themselves safe in this digital world.
Social media may have taken over our lives completely but even today, the importance of a phone call hasn’t diminished. The younger generations love texting for sure, but there are moments when a call becomes necessary. Sometimes people have to talk to their friends and tell them a long story, which is something that would be useless to do on texts. One can hear their reaction while telling a story easily on a phone call. Parents can keep in touch with their children via their phone. If a child is late, their parents are definitely not going to text them about it. They will get a call telling them to come home quickly. Also, in practical life, you can’t rely on texts too much, you will have to make calls. Sometimes these calls are to clients and other times to your boss. In any way, you need to have the necessary skills to make a conversation on the phone and if you don’t start practicing today, you won’t be able to do it tomorrow. This is why people call each other from time to time.
Is It Legal to Record Phone Calls?
You would be surprised to learn how many things governments and law enforcement agencies can get away with in the name of national security. However, the wiretapping laws are different in every country. In the US, many courts will give government the permission for telephone tapping easily. And when faced with a stricter court, government can mention threat to the nation’s security as their reason for wanting the permission and it will be given to them. However, the laws are a bit different when it comes to individuals recording a phone call.
The legality of the process of recording depends on the location. Different counties and states in the US have different laws. In some places, the consent of all parties involved in the conversation will have to be obtained prior to making the recording. This consent will be necessary for the recording to be acceptable in the court. In some US states, only one party needs to give consent for the recording, or be aware of it for it to be legal. Some law experts also say that in one-party states, if the person making the recording is part of the conversation, their own consent will count and make the tape legal. However, this interpretation still gets debated often.
There are a few exceptions to the recording rule. If the person making the recording is being threatened or is kidnapped, they are legally allowed to take the step. The tape will be accepted by the court as evidence. But if the person making the tape is not present for the conversation, the recording will not only be illegal but the act will be a felony. However, this too, depends on the jurisdiction because in Germany, there is a high chance that a criminal court will accept an illegal recording.
If anyone wants to tape a conversation, they are a part of, they should ask for every party’s consent just to be safe. But if they are not present in a meeting, they shouldn’t record it, unless they want to be charged with felony. It is also morally wrong to eavesdrop on people and tape whatever they are saying. None of us would like it if someone eavesdropped on our conversations so we should be willing to show people the same courtesy and respect their privacy. A world where everyone’s privacy is protected is definitely worth living in.