Is recording someone without his/her knowledge legal?
Last week, we discussed whether having a hidden surveillance camera is legal. But what about recording phone calls?
For instance, let’s say you and your wife are going through a nasty divorce. Your number one issue is whether your children should live with you or her on a full-time basis. You don’t believe that your soon-to-be ex’s risky behavior would be a bad influence on your children. But how can you prove to the court that she’s an unfit mother? You decide the best option would be to record a phone conversation between her and one of her friends, discussing a wild night on the town. Surely, once the court hears the conversation, it will rule in favor of you, right?
Well actually, wrong. Not only is your recording inadmissible in court, you may be charged with a crime. According to the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, it’s illegal to intercept or gain unauthorized access to certain types of information using such methods as recordings or “hacking” into a person’s email account. In addition, there’s the New Jersey Wiretapping Law. This states that it’s a crime to record any telephone conversations unless you’ve received consent, like a news reporter interviewing someone for a story. Not only can you receive criminal charges for your behavior, but the injured party can sue you for damages.
So why is recording someone illegal but you can have a hidden surveillance camera on your property? Again, the camera is being used as a way for the property owner to protect his/herself and the property from harm. However, if you try to a video recording in the scenario outlined above, you will get the same criminal charges pressed against you.
If you are having legal difficulties and need help, don’t wait much longer. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.