California Supreme Court Rules Recording Calls Without Consent Illegal

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In a ruling Thursday, the California Supreme Court clarified that the state’s prohibition on secretly recording phone calls applies to both parties on the call and not just third-party eavesdroppers, reports the Courthouse News Service. The court’s unanimous decision reverses the Fourth Appellate District’s interpretation from 2019 that the law applies only to nonparties and does not forbid those on the call from recording each other without consent. California’s penal code Section 632.7 makes it a crime to record or intercept a phone call “without the consent of all parties.” Writing for the unanimous court, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that the statute can be naturally read to mean that it prohibits both parties and nonparties from making non-consensual recordings, though it could “conceivably could support the Court of Appeal’s interpretation as well.”

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