The Social Security call center has an automated recording for each call informing the caller that their call may be recorded. There is no option for the caller to opt-out.

When speaking with a Social Security supervisor who was acting very inappropriately, a request was made by the caller to also record the call.

She claimed that "it is illegal to ever record a federal employee" even with their consent.

Is this true, or was she lying so that there would be no concrete evidence of her inappropriate conduct nor the inappropriate conduct of other representatives at the Social Security call centers?


The opt-out option is exercised by hanging up the phone. The federal wiretapping law 18 USC 2511 would contain any specific restrictions on recording federal employees, and there are no such restrictions. Each state has their own laws as well, so if either party is in a two-consent state such as Florida, consent from the other party would be required. The federal law only requires one party consent. It is possible that the individual expanded a separate rule that s/he may have heard of, one prohibiting recording of an IRS due process collection hearing that is conducted by telephone, as ruled in Calafati v. Commissioner. In that case, petitioner owed taxes and penalties and there was a process where the IRS was going to take his stuff, which requires a hearing. There is a federal statute 26 USC 7521 allowing the in-person hearing to be recorded, but no mention of recording telephone hearings. The Tax Court has taken the position that if it is not explicitly allowed, the IRS can forbid it: but this is in a very specific context, i.e. a specific legal hearing.

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