Federal Court Rules Recording Your Own Conversations Ok As Long As It's Not For A Crime

In a heated dispute over how to handle a woman’s estate, the son secretly set his iPhone to record a conversation that happened between him and the other members of his family days before she passed. The stepfather tried to get it tossed out by saying it violated the Wiretap act, but the case was dismissed and also lost on appeal. This has important implications for people who are interested in recording their customer service calls.

In the ruling, the court reaffirmed that in order for there to be a legal problem with recording a conversation with only one person’s consent, the recording must be for a nefarious purpose.

We affirm, and, in so doing, hold that the exception to the one-party consent provision of 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(d) requires that a communication be intercepted for the purpose of a tortious or criminal act that is independent of the intentional act of recording.

So, recording a conversation to commit blackmail or fraud – not okay. Recording a conversation to have proof that the company agreed to waive a fee? That’s looking pretty good, at least as far as the Federal statute is concerned.

Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording [Threat Level] (Richard)