Is it legal to record phone calls?

Recording phone conversations is legal in all of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Federal law permits electronically recording a phone conversation with the consent of only one person involved in the conversation. This “one-party” rule requires the consent of at least one person in the conversation. The law deals primarily with wiretapping and law enforcement –- recording conversations to which the recorder is not a party. But for journalists, this means that only the reporter herself is required to know that the conversation is being recorded.” [1]

Rule of thumb: “you are always better off having the permission of the person you’re recording.”

“That’s the rule of thumb,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which publishes “‘Can We Tape?’: A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in the 50 States and D.C.” “And that’s the ethical thing to do anyway. You always have to know what the law is, and you are always better off having the permission of the person you’re recording.”

 

Sources:

[1] Think Before You Record –  http://www.poynter.org/uncategorized/70385/think-before-you-record/

[2] Reporter’s Recording Guide – http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-recording-guide