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:
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 are recording.
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:
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 your consent.
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).
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.
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