Call Recording Compliance

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Call Recording Compliance

The legal framework surrounding recording telephone conversations in a business environment is subject to various laws and regulations in the UK.

The Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) govern the processing of personal data, including recording telephone conversations. Under the GDPR, businesses must have a lawful basis for recording calls, such as the company’s legitimate interest or the consent of the individual being recorded. It is essential for businesses to inform individuals that their calls are being recorded and to explain the purpose of doing so.

Additionally, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) regulates the interception of communications, including telephone conversations. Under RIPA, businesses can record calls without consent if necessary, such as for training or quality control purposes. However, it is illegal to intercept communications with the intention of committing a criminal offence.

Finally, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has specific rules on call recording for financial services businesses, such as banks and investment firms. These businesses are required to record all telephone conversations and electronic communications relating to client orders, transactions and the conclusion of contracts to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

In summary, call recording in a business environment is legal in the UK, providing businesses comply with relevant data protection, communication interception, and industry-specific regulations. It is important for companies to inform individuals that their calls are being recorded and to explain the purpose for doing so.

Should I inform my employees that all their calls are recorded?

Some years ago, employers were required to provide a separate telephone for their staff on which private calls were not recorded. This became largely unnecessary as employees now use their mobile phones for personal calls.

In general, it is good practice for businesses to inform their staff that all phone calls will be recorded, as it helps protect them against difficult or abusive customers. This helps build trust between the business and its employees and avoids misunderstandings or legal issues. Additionally, informing staff that their calls may be recorded can help to ensure that they are mindful of what they say on the phone, which can help to improve customer service and productivity.

How does recording telephone calls help business productivity and security?

*Protects against ‘who said what’ disputes on the phone

*Ensures instructions, prices, delivery details etc., are correct

*Improves customer service through effective training of staff

*Helps firms comply with regulatory requirements, for example, FCA and MiFID

*Reduces the number of gifts and credits to placate customers when they are wrong

Is it legal to record telephone at home? 

It is only possible to provide our interpretation of some of the legislation relating to recording calls at home. We suggest you seek independent legal advice if you consider intercepting, recording, or monitoring telephone calls.

Several pieces of UK legislation govern the interception, recording and monitoring of telephone calls. The main ones are:

  • RIPA-Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • LBP-Telecommunications Lawful Business Practice 2000 (Interception of Communications Regulations)
  • GDPR-General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (replaced the Data Protection Act)
  • Human Rights Act 1998

Is it against the law to record telephone conversations on my home phone? 

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) does not prohibit individuals from recording their phone calls providing that the recording is for their own private use. A recording is only prohibited where some of the call’s contents are made available to a third party. This could include someone who was neither the caller, sender or intended recipient of the original communication.

Recording a conversation in secret, where a person is subject to threats or abuse, for example, is not a crime and is not prohibited. These recordings might be permissible as evidence by the police or a court of law.

There have been cases where journalists record conversations secretly, and then newspapers publish them without facing any legal problems. Generally, they will have asked for consent from the recorded party or argue that the recordings are in the public’s interest.

Do I have to tell people I intend to record their telephone calls with me? 

You only need the consent of the person you are recording if you intend to make the recording public or pass it to a third party.

Can businesses or government organisations record or monitor my phone calls with them? 

Yes, but under the GDPR (General Data Protection Act), companies must prove they have your consent or legitimate interest when recording your calls. Other exceptional circumstances relating to national security exist where a government organisation may be allowed to monitor or record your calls.

When dealing with businesses, you have the right not to be recorded, to have any recordings deleted and for your calls to no longer be recorded in the future. Companies must also keep recordings in a secure location and make them available to you upon request under the GDPR.

Would a private call recording be allowed as evidence in court? 

  • This is a grey area, but it may be possible if the court gives permission and where the recording is made available to other parties before any hearing takes place, to consider its admissibility
  • Covert recordings of children are unlikely to be allowable as evidence in a court

What do I do if my calls have been recorded unlawfully?

Under RIPA, recording or monitoring a communication unlawfully is a tort. If you think you have suffered from unlawful interception of your phone calls or e-mails, you can seek redress by taking a civil action against the offender in the courts.

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