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Is it legal to record a telephone conversation?

What happens if you record someone on the phone?

Criminal law
Is it legal to record a telephone conversation?

With today's smartphones you can record a phone call, either using the settings of each device or through different applications designed for the same purpose. Whether you've done it before or not, you'll be curious to know to what extent this practice is legal or whether you're committing an offence.

Want to find out when it's allowed and when you're committing an offence? Read on:

When is it legal to record a phone conversation?

The first thing is to differentiate between your own and other people's recordings. Self-recordings take place when the person recording participates in the conversation, while other people's recordings are those that have been recorded by third parties.

In Spain, it is legal to record your own telephone conversation, i.e. if you are one of the callers, even if you do not notify the other participants that you are recording the conversation. It is also legal evidence that you can use in court provided there is no coercion, provocation or deception of the person recording.

When is recording a telephone conversation a criminal offence?

It is illegal for you to record any conversation in which you do not participate. In other words, recording a third party is punishable by a fine or even imprisonment. Because, you are violating other people's privacy or discovering secrets, without their consent. 

What penalties do you face?

It can be considered as a serious offence against privacy and disclosure of secrets. 

These offences are described in Article 197 of the Penal Code: "1. Anyone who, in order to discover the secrets or violate the privacy of another, without their consent, takes possession of their papers, letters, e-mail messages or any other documents or personal effects, intercepts their telecommunications or uses technical devices for listening, transmission, recording or reproduction of sound or image, or any other communication signal, shall be punished with a prison sentence of one to four years and a fine of twelve to twenty-four months".

Likewise, in all cases, whether it is a recording of your own or someone else's, it is illegal to disclose the audio without notifying those affected. Because in this case, you would again be committing an offence against privacy or disclosure of secrets. 

Don't let them extort money from you, your lawyer tells you!

Criminal law

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