What’s So Illegal About Call Recording?

Call recording is used all over the world in a host of industries and sectors. As of recently there has been some negative media surrounding call recording and how it has violated an individual’s privacy.

The British public has summoned a national newspaper and courts alike to justify what actually happened –  was it phone tapping or is it call recording?

So I suppose the question on everyone’s lips… Is call recording illegal?

Call recording is supervised and controlled in many countries and the UK is one of the countries where it is monitored. Many governments have ruled out what is otherwise known as ‘phone tapping’ as it is a breach in privacy. There are many laws and regulations that prohibit ‘phone tapping’. It needs to be noted that there is a difference between phone tapping and call recording. Phone tapping is very illegal unless it has been sanctioned by a high court. For example in Germany it is legal for an individual to record a conversation and it  to be accepted into the court of law as evidence. Call recording however is allowed and not illegal in the UK. There are however specific terms and conditions that need to be understood before implementing call recording.

legal matters


Consent is a key factor that needs to be understood when implementing call recording into your company. Many organisations have call recording built into their facilities and many think that it can only be applied if they are granted consent from the caller. For example many call centres and customer support facilities have implemented call recording through hosted VOIP – this allows them to go ahead and record the call. The advisor needs to inform the caller that the call will be recorded and for what purpose, (should the call need to), be used. This is not a requirement as long as one of the below elements have been adhered to.

As stated by Vanilla IP, (1), the reasons for call recording can be allowed for the following reasons:

  • Provide evidence of transactions between customer and business
  • Ensures that the regulatory procedures are adhered to
  • Ensures that governmental laws and standards are being met
  • Prevent crime or unlawful activities and should any illegal activities be conducted then it can be reported
  • Instil an effective operation of the telecom system

Employees on the other hand need to be advised if there calls are being recorded. Employees phone calls are not allowed to be recorded but they can be monitored. Employees need to be aware that calls may be recorded and that any personal calls may be logged – therefore personal calls need to be made off a separate device.

It is clear to see that there has been some confusion regarding call recording and phone tapping. It seems that many interchange the meanings – it is however clear after careful research that they are very different and phone tapping in the UK is illegal whereas call recording is not.

By Jema Daya

Jema is a Marketing Executive at FDC in Ibstock Leicesterhsire. Follow Jema on Twitter @fdcstudio

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/86530412@N02/8213432552/

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