Recording Telephone Calls

Many countries have laws or regulations that govern the electronic recording of telephone conversations, which are designed to protect individuals' rights. Commonly, a provision will be included stating that persons whose telephone calls are being recorded must be informed of the fact—the details vary from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for example, the Telecommunications Act of 1984 requires that the person making a recording shall make "every reasonable effort to inform the parties" of doing so. "Every reasonable effort" is not defined statutorily, but the Office of Telecommunications , which is a government-appointed regulatory body, now subsumed within OfCom (Website: www.ofcom.org.uk), has issued guidance. Reasonable effort may be achieved by the use of warning tones, prerecorded messages, verbal warnings given by a telephone operator, or written warnings in publicity material.

A recording may be an invaluable aid for forensic evidence or to help refute a complaint or claim for compensation, but practitioners who make electronic recordings of telephone calls must ensure that they comply with local laws and practice codes.

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