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Legal Issues Regarding Call Recording

Someone may wish to record a phone call for any number of reasons, but it is important to take into consideration that there are both federal and state laws pertaining to the recording of calls. Being aware of legal issues regarding call recording is important for companies, in particular, who wish to record all customer service calls, as an example. United States federal law requires that at least one party taking part in a call be notified that the call is being recorded.

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In addition to federal law, there are laws in some states that require only one party to be notified of the call recording, while other states require two parties to be aware of the call recording.

All-Party Consent States

Approximately 13 states in the United States require all parties to consent to a call recording. Those states include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington State.

Call Recording in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are several laws that cover the practice of recording phone calls. Unless you are able to guarantee that the call recording will not be shared with any third party and that the call is being recorded to either gather evidence, prevent a crime, or ensure regulatory compliance, it is the safest bet to consider the United Kingdom a jurisdiction that requires all parties of a phone call to consent to a call recording.

Canadian Laws on Call Recording

In Canada, there is an established single set of rules for all call recording, which is built into its electronic privacy law. Canada also has an all-party consent approach so that in order for a call to be legally recorded, a person/business must notify the others on the phone call that the call will be recorded, what the purposes of the call recording are, and that the call may only be recorded with the consent of every person on the phone call.

Call Recording in Ireland

Ireland also requires all party consent in order for a call to be recorded legally. The purpose of the call recording must be explained in detail to each participant of the call and each party on the call must give informed consent.

When companies are considering implementing a recording of phone calls for both outbound and inbound calling, it is customary to hear some type of default message that is either pre-recorded or stated by a company staff member. One that is heard commonly in announcing the recording of calls is, “For quality assurance, this call be recorded.” Another common one is, “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes.”

Some of the reasons companies may wish to record calls are for records-purposes. That is, if there is a dispute regarding an agreement regarding a contract or a payment, the company has the recording to fall back on for review and resolution of the dispute. Call recording is also used in order to support the improvement of customer service practices and for staff training purposes. For example, a recording may be used to demonstrate to new incoming staff members how a particular situation should be handled. In the same way, a call recording could be used to show new incoming staff members how a situation should not be handled. Call recordings can be very useful for staff training.

Legal issues regarding call recording can be complicated and sometimes controversial. It is the choice of a business owner to comply with all relevant regulations and any industry standards. Accomplishing the task of compliance requires careful research related to which laws apply to particular types of businesses. Legal issues regarding call recording also encompass a variety of call recording functions. These include, but are not limited to, issues of participant consent, regulations regarding the storage of recordings and the legality of putting a pause on and then resuming any live recordings.

In order to research legal issues regarding call recording for a call center, for example, a number of agencies and resources must be checked to ensure all aspects are covered in recording calls from and to various areas.

As it is easy to see, legal issues regarding call recording vary from state to state within the United States and they also vary from country to country. For a business that operates in various countries, it may be simpler to adopt an all-party disclosure and consent rule rather than aim to investigate and follow the rules of each market the business works within. Making sure that you and your legal team has a clear understanding of legal issues regarding call recording and always obtaining consent when in doubt is paramount.