Are Your Phone Conversations Recorded?
by Bill Rounds
How to Vanish
by Bill Rounds:
Fun With a Decoy Drive
Ooh baby, baby
its a wired world. Cat
Stevens could easily rewrite his lyric for a new era. Recently
a couple of politicians have been caught on tape saying something
that they thought was private when, in fact, their audio was being
recorded. In both situations the recordings were not intended to
gather personal information, but they recorded embarrassing stuff
none the less. It is equally possible, and for a public figure probable,
that there is someone intentionally recording a conversation either
in person or on the phone. What is the law on the subject?
Court has determined, as a matter of federal law, that if you reveal
something to another person, you risk that that person will tell
the world what you have said. This is the justification that is
given to allow an informant to wear a wire and even to record the
conversation when speaking to a target in person Thus, unless there
is a state law that limits the ability to record your conversation
with another, your confidante may be secretly recording your conversation
for some later use.
recordings I do not mean wire taps by government officials, I am
talking about the person you might be speaking to who is recording
your conversation. Federal law requires that only one party to the
telephone conversation consent to the recording. Thus, if you consent,
you may record the phone conversation with another without any consent,
or even knowledge that the phone conversation is being recorded.
This approach has been adopted by most of the states as well. There
are still a significant number of states that require that both
parties to the phone conversation give some kind of consent before
they may be recorded. There may even be criminal and civil liability
for someone who does record a conversation contrary to state law.
The rules and penalties vary, depending on the state, so make sure
you know what rights you have in your own
not about everyone becoming a hermit, unless you want that. It is
about control over the disclosure of your private life and information
in the ways outlined in the book How
To Vanish. I do not recommend avoiding all in-person conversations
or telephone conversations just because there is a risk of someone
recording it. It is important to be aware of what the consequences
of talking to someone in person or by phone might be and then order
your affairs appropriately to control the level of risk that you
are taking. It is also helpful to understand that when there are
laws in place in a certain state against surreptitious recording
by one party to a conversation, you may have recourse if there was
a recording made without your consent. If you have any question
about recording of phone calls, you will want to talk to a lawyer.
with permission from How to
Rounds, J.D. is a California attorney. He holds a degree in Accounting
from the University of Utah and a law degree from California
Western School of Law. He practices civil litigation, domestic
and foreign business entity formation and transactions, criminal
defense and privacy law. He is a strong advocate of personal and
financial freedom and civil liberties.
© 2012 How
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