I’ll admit, it’s not the most cutting edge piece of investigative journalism. To create the recording, I placed the rep on hold, dialed iPadio, then conferenced the two calls together. Hey presto – the call was recorded.
One thing bothered me though, I hadn’t told the cold-caller that I was recording them. At best, it was slightly unethical and rude – at worst it could be illegal.
I was reminded of this when I saw a tweet from Chris Applegate
@edent You can record a call for your own purposes, but not reveal to a 3rd party without consent of other caller http://is.gd/4RFDY
— Chris Applegate (@chrisapplegate) November 10, 2009
Ofcom were very helpful – recording telephone calls came under the ambit of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
So, I rang them. Success! The advisers there pointed me to Section 36 of the Data Protection Act.
Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III.
This, according to the ICO, meant individuals are not bound by the DPA. Of course, it may well be prudent to let people know that they’re being recorded and inform them if you intend to publish the conversation – but there is no obligation for individuals to do so.
Martin Belam raises some points about the Sun broadcasting a phone conversation with Gordon Brown. While individuals may make recordings and are under no obligation, the whole thing becomes slightly murkier when a company is involved – even if no money changes hands. I think Martin is right; this sort of exploitation of privatley recorded material should be investigated by the PCC.