Telephone recording laws


If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so. These laws not only expose you to the risk of criminal prosecution, but also potentially give an injured party a civil claim for money damages against you.

From a legal standpoint, the most important question in the recording context is whether you must get consent from one or all of the parties to a phone call or conversation before recording it.

Telephone tapping is, of course, subject to its own laws:
• Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which grants the Government the power to order the interception of messages;
• Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951, which lays down the procedural requirements which must be followed for telephone tapping to be legal;
• Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which deals with the power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource;
• Information Technology (Directions for Interception or Monitoring or Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.
Under these laws, the tapping of telephones by third parties is generally illegal, unless the procedures mandated by law are followed. Pertinently, it is possible to interpret the law to mean that tapping would be illegal even is the person whose telephone is tapped consents to the tapping.


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