A Detailed Look at United States Recording Laws

by | Apr 14, 2021


Often there is good reason to record phone calls. Businesses, the  government, and even individuals sometimes want to keep a copy of  what is said during a conversation, particularly during heated  discussions.  

These recordings can be used for teaching, reference, troubleshooting  and more. 

However, before you click that red record button it’s important to 

know, be aware of, and follow the appropriate laws. The US Congress  and most states have detailed specific call recording regulations and  statutes. Some states require One-Party consent, while others require  that anyone participating in that call must consent to the recording. This  is often referred to as either All-Party or Two-Party consent. Most 
recently, and due to the popularity of conference or group calling, you  may want to make it easy and just consider All-Party Consent rules as  your routine choice. 

Evaluating the Laws 

The laws that govern recording phone calls exist because many people  and governments label call recording as eavesdropping or wiretapping.  It is therefore imperative to know the laws in your area before you  decide to record even a single call.  

Since these are state laws, the question then becomes, what if you are  making a phone call across state borders, because let’s face it, most of  us do business out-of-state. 

It’s just not always easy to find, nor is it always clear whether Federal or  State laws apply regarding call recordings. In most states, the law  references the state where the recording device is located. That is a  simplified way of looking at it, particularly since these days everything is  in the cloud.  

   If you are using a VoIP phone, it is particularly difficult to 

determine in which state the recording device is located—it  could be where your PC or phone is or where your VoIP  provider’s cloud is hosted, which may not actually be where the  provider is. 

Additionally, some state laws indicate that the law of the state where  the person is being recorded, should take precedence. Therefore, when  recording a call that crosses state borders, it’s best to follow the 
strictest laws, no matter which state or federal law that could be. In  almost all instances, recording a call or conversation, when all parties  consent, is considered legal.   

The USA vs. The World 

Recording laws in the USA differ from those around the world. 
Technology has changed significantly and while in some places around  the world, All-Party Consent is the norm, the United States likes to leave  these regulations in the hands of the States.  

The Strictest Recording Laws 

We found the strictest laws to be in Canada. While in the USA the laws  outline party consent, in Canada it is different. In fact, Canada has  specific rules in addition to their Consent laws.  

Three main rules in Canada are included with All-Party consent. First,  you must notify the others on the call that you are going to record the  conversation. Second, during that discussion you must outline the  purpose for recording the conversation. And third, you need to remind  them that it can only be recorded with their agreement.  

Many group calls or Webinars include people calling in from around the  world. These are often recorded, and usually somewhere in the Terms  of the Webinar, you will be given the above three-rule notification,  where by participating you are giving your express consent to being  recorded.  

Alaska  Connecticut*
District of Columbia Maryland
IowaNew Hampshire
Kansas Pennsylvania
Missouri UK
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina* Mixed Laws
South Dakota** No Statutes regulating telephone recordings
West Virginia

Should We Record Our Calls?

It is first important to consider the reason for recording your calls. After  that, consider how important those reasons truly are, along with the  impact it could have on your business, customers, or person, whether  that impact is good or bad.  

Reason: Personal, heated discussion.Reason: Technical, need to remember specific technical details.
Impact: Low, generally with a business, though if legally escalated, could be used as evidence. Impact: Low, probably not proprietary information, though likely across State lines and with many people
Reason: Dictation, writing it down for later reference, often for legal purposesReason: Technical, need to hear phone line noise
Impact: Medium, could be medically necessary or per legal mandate, though probably not multiple parties Impact: Medium, may be able to hear from one call, may need to record several
Reason: Customer Service, like spying on staff, and sometimes necessaryReason: Verification, audible signatures
Impact: Large, going this route, you are likely recording all, or almost all callsImpact: Large, if using for this reason, it is usually a large customer base 

Rule of Thumb 

No matter a State’s Consent laws, the rule of thumb is to always receive  consent from all parties on a call, if possible, prior to the call. Following  the rules of our neighbors to the North, outlining the reason for the  recording and asking for permission, is a common courtesy when it  comes to call recording.   

Many businesses in the United States already have a message saying,  “this call may be recorded for quality assurance and training.” This  standard for large companies might be something to consider no matter  the size of your business. 

While recording can be particularly cumbersome if you are having a  group discussion or are even just recording a webinar, these laws are  always something to consider, whether you are the recorder or 
recorded party! 

When hosting Webinars, you should be asking for consent to  record, and by participating in Webinars, you are giving your  express consent to be recorded. 

Just remember, if you do decide to press that red button, be prepared.  Most of our customers simply add legal language to their standard  paperwork indicating the possibility of recording calls for use 
troubleshooting. A general disclaimer for same is considered  appropriate and acceptable.   

Recording Using InphoniteVoice’s Premium Voice  Reason: Technical & Customer Service / Impact: Medium 

Customers can use the InphoniteVoice SaaS, Premium Voice recording  feature to listen for static on their lines, or to prove that NO-SHOWS,  actually did in fact receive a message, and may even have Confirmed  their appointments. To fully appreciate this feature, please consider  your State or Federal Laws and how they relate to you or your own  customers or patients.  

About Inphonite 

Inphonite’s premier product InphoniteVoice is an automated messaging  system offering secure, reliable, cost-effective, and completely  customizable messages for businesses of any industry. Use 
InphoniteVoice to automate any of your messaging needs. Visit us now  to see how!  

To Find out More  www.inphonite.com 

https://www.justice.gov/jm/criminal-resource-manual-1050-scope-18-usc-2511- prohibitions 
Alabama Ala. Code § 13A-11-30(1) and § 13A-11-31 
Alaska Alaska Stat. Ann. § 42.20.300(a); Alaska Stat. Ann. § 42.20.310(a)(1) 
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3012(9); § 13-3012(5)(c) 
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. § 5-60-120 
California Cal. Penal Code § 632(a)-(d); 
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-9-303 (1) 
Connecticut C.G.S.A. §§ 53a-187, -89; C.G.S.A. § 52-570d 
Delaware Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 2402(c)(4) Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 1335(a)(4) 
District of Columbia D.C. Code § 23-542(b)(3) 
Florida Fla. Stat. Ann. § 934.03(3)(d) 
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-66(a); Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-62 
Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-42(3)(A) 
Idaho Idaho Code Ann. § 18-6702(2)(d) 
Illinois 720 I.L.C.S. § 5/14-2(a) 
Indiana Ind. Code Ann. § 35-31.5-2-176 
Iowa Iowa Code Ann. § 808B.2 (2)(c); Iowa Code Ann. § 727.8 
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(1); Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(4) 
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.020; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.010 
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1303(c)(4) 
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 710 
Maryland Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402 (c)(3) 
Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 272, § 99(B)(4); Mass. Gen. Ann. Laws ch. 272, § 99(C)(1) 
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.539(c) 
Minnesota Minn. Stat. Ann. § 626A.02(d) 
Mississippi Miss. Code. Ann. § 41-29-531(e) 
Missouri Mo. Ann. Stat. § 542.402(2)(3) 
Montana Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213 
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-290(2)(c); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-276 
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.620; Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.650 
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 570-A:2(I-a) 
New Jersey N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:156A-4(d); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:156A-2 
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-12-1(C) 
New York N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00(1); N.Y. Penal Law § 250.05 
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 15A-287(a) 
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-15-02 
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2933.52(B)(4); Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2933.51 
TennesseeTenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-601; Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-604; Tenn. Code Ann. § 40- 6-303 
Texas Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 16.02; Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 18.20 
Utah Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-4; Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-3 
Vermont None 
Virginia Va. Code Ann. § 19.2-62 
Washington Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9.73.030 
West Virginia W. Va. Code Ann. § 62-1D-3 
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. Ann. § 968.31; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 968.27; Wis. Stat. Ann. § 885.365(1) 
Wyoming Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 7-3-702 


The information provided  herein is for informational  purposes only. Please consult  your legal counsel if you have  specific questions on  compliance with pertinent  Federal, State, or International  laws.