UK Telephone Recording Laws
Legal Aspects of Recording Telephone Conversations: A Practical
Call Corder records telephone conversation in accordance with
The United Kingdom
The interception, recording and monitoring of telephone calls is
governed by a number of different pieces of UK legislation. The
requirements of all relevant legislation must be complied with. The
main ones are:
- Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ("RIPA"). ·
Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice)(Interception of
Communications) Regulations 2000 ("LBP Regulations"). · Data
Protection Act 1998.
- Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations
- Human Rights Act 1998.
Recording Private Calls
The relevant law, RIPA, does not prohibit individuals from
recording their own communications provided that the recording is
for their own use. Recording or monitoring are only prohibited where
some of the contents of the communication - which can be a phone
conversation or an e-mail - are made available to a third party,
i.e. someone who was neither the caller or sender nor the intended
recipient of the original communication.
According to Oftel, you do not have to let people know that you
intend to record their telephone conversations, provided you are not
intending to make the contents of the communication available to a
third party. If you are you will need the consent of the person you
Businesses and Other Organizations
A business or other organisation cam record or monitor phone
calls n a limited set of circumstances relevant for that business
which has been defined by the LBP Regulations. The main ones are:
- to provide evidence of a business transaction
- to ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures
- to see that quality standards or targets are being met
- in the interests of national security
- to prevent or detect crime
- to investigate the unauthorised use of a telecom system
- to secure the effective operation of the telecom system.
Businesses do not have to tell if they are going to record or
monitor phone calls. As long as the recording or monitoring is done
for one of the above purposes the only obligation on businesses is
to inform their own employees. If businesses want to record for any
other purpose, such as market research, they will have to obtain
Where organisations do feel it necessary to record or monitor
calls - for whatever reasons - the rules under which they do so have
been set by the Privacy of Messages condition of the major two
telecom class licences - the Self-Provision (SPL) and
Telecommunication Services (TSL) Licences. The most fundamental
requirement of this condition has been that every reasonable effort
is made to inform all parties to a telephone conversation that it
may or will be recorded.
In addition, businesses can monitor, but not record, phone calls
or e-mails that have been received to see whether they are relevant
to the business (i.e. open an employee's voicemail or mailbox
systems while they are away to see if there are any business
communications stored there).
However, any interception of employees' communications must be
proportionate and in accordance with Data Protection principles. The
Data Protection Commissioner is consulting on a Code of Practice on
The use of personal data in employer/employee relationships. It is
proposed that where the standards in the Code of Practice are, in
the Commissioner's opinion, necessary for compliance with the Data
Protection Act 1998 they may be directly enforceable as a breach of
the Data Protection principles. Accordingly this Code of Practice
and the Data Protection Act must also be considered by any business
before it intercepts employees' communications (see next paragraph).
Recording Employee's Conversations
Companies and organisations that routinely record telephone calls
must ensure that their employees are able to make personal calls
that are not also recorded under the same system.
Staff must also be made aware that personal conversations could
be recorded on their telephone and must have access to a separate
telephone on the premises where they can make and receive personal
calls that are not recorded.
Companies that do not provide this guarantee of confidentiality
could be in breach of Article 8 of the Europe Convention on Human
Rights that covers people's right to privacy.
Recording calls breaches human rights says Oftel.
(Industry Trend or Event).
Oftel FAQ on recording telephone conversations.
19 August 1999. Oftel Publishes New Guidance On
Recording Of Telephone Conversations.
- Buy Call Corder on-line.
- Download a fully-functional
free evaluation copy of Call Corder.
Evaluation version of Call Corder can be used
for free during a 30-day trial period.