Call Recording: What Is and Isn’t Legal
Call recording for businesses looking to collect information for improving customer service or building training materials.
By Odhran Reidy
Call recording is a useful tool for businesses looking to collect information for improving customer service or building training materials. For some organizations, recording calls is a legal requirement for conducting business. But, no matter what, call recording laws must be followed and all calls must be recorded in compliance with the local laws of each party involved.
This means that you’ll need to know the laws in the jurisdiction where you’re calling from and where the call is being received. But, laws vary from country to country and even state to state. The information contained in this article is designed to give you best practices and factors to consider. As always, Telnyx recommends that you speak with your legal team to ensure you're following local laws when recording calls.
Call recording laws
Call recording laws govern what is and isn't allowed to be recorded on a phone call, and which parties on a phone call need to provide consent for any call recording to take place. Phone call recording laws differ from country to country and from state to state.
In the US, call recording laws center around consent. Businesses wishing to know if they can record someone on the phone without their knowledge should familiarize themselves with the concepts of one-party consent and two-party consent:
As the name implies, one-party consent means that at least one person in the call must consent to be recorded. If you’re one of the people speaking on the call and also recording it, this meets the criteria for one party consent.
If the call is being recorded by a third party who’s not speaking on the call, they must ask and obtain consent from at least one person in the conversation before recording.
Two-party consent is also sometimes called “all-party consent.” Two-party consent means that everybody who’s being recorded on the call must give consent to be recorded.
If one person speaking on the call is also recording it, they must inform the other person on the call that it’s being recorded before continuing in order to meet the requirements for two-party consent.
Phone Call Recording Laws by Country
We've broken down phone call recording laws and voice recording regulations in some of our most commonly-called regions. Laws and definitions can vary from country to country, so when recording an international call, you should familiarize yourself with the call recording laws of both the originating and terminating countries of the phone call. To ensure you're recording calls legally, you should investigate the regulations in local areas that you call independently, but the information below can serve as a guide to get you started.
The United States has federal regulations which require one-party consent for any phone call recording. However, some states have additional laws around call recording. Call recording laws by state are complex and varied. In general, any state which does not have its own specific call recording laws can be viewed as a one-party consent state in accordance with the federal regulations.
Breaking down call recording laws by state, eleven states have laws that require all-party consent to record phone calls. These states are:
- New Hampshire
In addition to these states, some state call recording laws are unclear. For example, Delaware call recording laws conflict somewhat on whether or not call recording requires one-party or two-party consent in the state. Additionally, Vermont call recording laws do not specifically address consent for recording conversations, but the state's courts have ruled on cases around recording in various settings.
Europe and UK
Call recording laws in the European Union (EU) are broadly dictated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation, introduced in 2018, lays out strict requirements around call recording, including rules around seeking consent, and requirement to explain why a call is being recorded. In addition to the GDPR, EU member states may have other recording laws, and anyone recording phone calls in these countries should ensure they are in full compliance with both EU and country-specific regulations.
After the UK left the European Union after January 31, 2020, many EU regulations ceased to apply to the UK. However, prior to Brexit, the UK enacted its own data protection regulation | UK Information Commissioner's Office") called the UK-GDPR. This regulation is very similar to the EU's version of the GDPR. When recording phone calls in the UK, it's important to ensure any recording takes place in compliance with the UK-GDPR as well as local laws like the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
Looking more widely at Europe, there is some variation in call recording laws between countries, and some regions have specific exceptions carved out, but a majority of countries in Europe have call recording laws that require two-party consent.
Phone call recording laws in Canada require all-party consent, with some additional requirements. All parties who are being recorded must be informed that they’re being recorded, what the purpose of recording the call is (all purposes must be divulged here—stating one purpose such as quality assurance makes it legal to use the recording ONLY for quality assurance), and the organization must provide meaningful alternatives if any person on the call objects to being recorded.
You can learn more about Canada’s approach to recording calls by reading the Privacy Commissioner’s Guidelines for Recording Customer Calls.
Call recording laws in Australia vary by territory, but Australia as a whole can be treated as a two-party consent country. Australian call recording laws specify that, on a phone call that is being recorded, both parties must have the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether they want to continue the conversation. Additionally, callers can ask to be transferred to an unrecorded call, if one is available.
Some territories, like Queensland, allow one-party consent for call recordings, while others like South Australia, cite specific circumstances in which one-party consent is acceptable.
Call Recordings - Frequently Asked Questions
Call recording is a complex topic. Aside from the intricate legal considerations around recording a phone call, it can be tricky to understand the technical complexities that surround call recording. We've laid out some of the most common questions we receive about Call Recording with Telnyx:
What is call recording?
Call recording is the ability to record an active phone call between two or more parties, storing it for later listening or analysis. Call recording is a popular feature in many telephone platforms, and can be vital for contact centers, customer support organizations, and marketing analytics applications.
Does Telnyx offer call recording?
How do I get started using call recording?
What’s the cost for recording calls?
Call recording starts at just $0.002 per minute of recorded phone call, with free, secure cloud storage. You can find the latest pricing information alongside in-depth pricing for the Telnyx Voice API.
What are the most common call recording use-cases?
A huge variety of businesses in many industries use call recording to add value for their customers:
Customer service contact centers record phone calls to use in training agents. In most cases, customer service call recording laws are one and the same as the overarching call recording laws described in this article. Most call centers err on the side of caution with regard to call center recording laws, and collect consent from their customers, even in one-party consent states where it is not strictly required. This gives rise to the ubiquitous "This call may be recorded for training purposes" message which is played on virtually every customer support phone line.
Some call recording in call center applications can occur on monitored calls or conference calls. A monitored call occurs between two or more conversation parties and one or more monitoring parties, where the monitoring parties can listen to the conversation but not partake in it. In most cases, conference call recording laws are the same as those which apply to general call recording laws, however businesses wishing to record conference calls should pay close attention in regions which require all-party consent.
Call tracking and marketing analytics platforms often incorporate call recording, so that their customers can analyze individual inbound calls to gauge the effectiveness of the marketing activities that generated the call. Business call recording laws are usually contained under general call recording laws for any given country or state.
AI & Voice Analytics platforms often record phone calls and then run natural language processing (NLP) and other voice analytics algorithms on the recordings to extract insights and data. Applications of this technology can include customer sentiment analysis, translation and language services, and marketing analytics. Some Telnyx customers instead choose to analyze call media in real-time, without the need for recordings. This is made possible by real-time media forking, and alleviates many concerns about call recording laws.
As a general rule for any company making interstate or international calls, following two-party or all-party consent laws is the best practice that will ensure you’re following all the laws that apply to the call.
Fortunately, many CRM systems have built-in functionality to prompt employees to ask for consent before proceeding with the call if the phone number has an area or country code for a jurisdiction that requires two-party consent.
If your business needs easy, configurable, hiigh-quality and secure call recording and storage, we're here to help. Talk to a voice expert today and learn how Telnyx can power next-generation call recording.
*Please note that Telnyx is providing this information only as a courtesy, and this does not constitute the provision of legal advice. This information should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed attorney with appropriate expertise and authorization to practice in your jurisdiction. Telnyx is not in a position to interpret any laws, rules, or regulations on behalf of its customers or other third parties. You should consult with your legal advisors to ensure that your use of Telnyx services is compliant with all applicable laws, regulations, and requirements.