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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pelagic Hunter said:
Check out this link:

http://www.nixonpeabody.com/publications_detail3.asp?ID=1432
That's what I wanted to know. This may sound like nit-picking, but what if you're having a conversation with someone, and when you're almost done, they say that they've been taping the conversation. Would it be correct to surmise that they've already broken the law?
 

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The answer is that it is illegal to tape record any conversation (phone or otherwise) without the knowledge of all parties. Doing subjects you to criminal and civil penalties. I think it's section 632 of the penal code.

I think there is an exception if the person who is being recorded is making certain types of threats of physical harm.

Bill
 

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You can sidestep this by installing security cameras w/ microphones. 24/7 surveillance is different from recording one call and provides you the ability to record a call (on speaker phone only) without appearing to intentionally record the call. Whether the digital footage is admissable in court is another thing but if you threatened...you can provide evidence to the police in this manner.
 

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Unless there is clear notice to persons present that they are being recorded, activity such as you describe is clearly illegal. You can't record voice communication (telephone or otherwise) without all parties to the conversation knowing about it. There is no way to "sidestep" this Penal Code provision as claimed by HD. The analysis has nothing to do with whether or not you are recording a telephone conversation. The statute prohibits recording "by electronic means" any conversation without the knowledge of all parties. So if you record a conversation using anything other than really fast handwriting, you are screwed if caught. As I said above, the only exception is when the communication being recorded contains threats of violence. I have represented a person charged both criminally and civilly for doing exactly what is described in this thread. Bill

This post edited by WJW 06/26/2008
 

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WJW said:
Unless there is clear notice to persons present that they are being recorded, activity such as you describe is clearly illegal. You can't record voice communication (telephone or otherwise) without all parties to the conversation knowing about it.

There is no way to "sidestep" this Penal Code provision as claimed by HD. The analysis has nothing to do with whether or not you are recording a telephone conversation. The statute prohibits recording "by electronic means" any conversation without the knowledge of all parties. So if you record a conversation using anything other than really fast handwriting, you are screwed if caught. As I said above, the only exception is when the communication being recorded contains threats of violence.

I have represented a person charged both criminally and civilly for doing exactly what is described in this thread.

Bill



so what about these reporters on tv .....they use a hidden camera to catch scammers all the time...is that illegal also?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Perhaps I should clarify....I don't want to record anyone. Rather, a former employee called me, and at the end of our conversation, she informed me that she had been recording me. Needless to say, I was pissed.

This post edited by walkerman 06/26/2008
 

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That is a crime and courts have repeatedly held that minimum civil penalties of up to five thousand dollars are appropriate (even when you have not been damaged) just because of the invasion to your privacy.

Bill
 

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Assuming the activity occurs in California, doing what you describe is a crime John. Lots of states have rules that allow recording if one party to the conversation knows...but not California.

An exception to the rule is if you are carrying on a conversation in a public place in a manner that no reasonable person could construe as being private. For example, if you are sitting on a full bus, talking loudly to the person on your right. The person behind you could record with no worries.

Bill
 
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