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In the United States, some states require consent to record if one party decides to record the phone call. A person I'm talking to told me they would record the call, do I need to tell them that I will record the call if I decide to?

I am especially thinking about customer services who warn the customer that the call may be recorded: can I record the call as well without asking for consent in that case?


I am mostly interested in the following locations, ordered by descending interest:

  • California, United States
  • Massachusetts, United States (-> no need for consent in that state, so problem solved)
  • All other states in the United States
  • Paris, France
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • I've often wondered about the limits of interpreting the statement that the customer service lines announce. They usually say, "These calls MAY be recorded for quality assurance." Their "may" probably means perhaps but it could also be interpreted as granting permission to the person calling. Generally, the requirement for all-party states is that permission is required when there is an expectation of privacy. When the company tells you they may record the call then, I believe, the expectation of privacy disappears. – Dave D Jan 31 '16 at 23:21
  • Previously asked: law.stackexchange.com/questions/5614/…. It's unanswered so I can't vote to close this, but maybe the questions should be merged. – Nate Eldredge Feb 1 '16 at 0:29
  • @dawn, not sure which part for which you seek case law but in Faulkner v. Adt Security Services (cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2013/01/17/11-16233.pdf), the 9th circuit held that when dealing with a business a consumer would have to show why they had an expectation of privacy. That case dealt with California's two-party consent law which is among the toughest in the country. It seems that an expectation of privacy is a two-way street - if the consumer doesn't have one then the business can't either. Faulkner did, however, deal only with wired phone calls, not wireless. – Dave D Feb 1 '16 at 12:48
  • It does go to the privacy argument in that the cited case found that an "objectively reasonable expectation of confidentiality would have to be attached" to the communication. The opinion gives an example: discussing general business issues vs. a one-on-one call discussing confidential business matters. Once a party says the call may be recorded then they've set an expectation that others may listen, eliminating the expectation of confidentiality. Once the privacy expectation is eliminated then anyone can record. Do you have a case that says when one side records the other has to notify? – Dave D Feb 1 '16 at 16:35

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