This Call Is Being Recorded

by @edent | # # # # # | 15 comments | Read ~10,102 times.

We've all been stuck on hold to some call centre and heard a distant voice say "For your security, and our training purposes, your call may be recorded."

I've always wanted to say to people "just so you know, I am also recording this call." Well, now I can.

A little back story...

Around 4 years ago, I experimented with recording phone calls. It was quite a clunky process, involving conference calling in another line.

Of course, Android has theoretically supported native call recording since its inception. However, Google have ignored all the requests to actually enable it.

Android has a number of call recording apps. On most phones, the call recording works by putting the phone on speaker mode and using the microphone to record both sides of the conversation. That has obviously disadvantages for call quality - not to mention that you don't always want to have your conversations on speakerphone!

Luckily the enterprising chaps at GrinZone have found a way round this limitations on some phones.

With InCall Recorder on my Galaxy Note II, I can finally record line quality audio on my phone calls.

Take a listen:
Voice Call With Mum

One of the great things about InCall Recorder is that it automatically upload the recorded MP3s up to DropBox - so your calls are instantly available to you and anyone else with whom you choose to share the folder.
InCall Recorder-fs8
In the UK, it is perfectly legal for an individual to record their calls - and there is no need to inform the other party nor obtain consent. Individuals are exempt from having to comply with the data protection act. Interestingly, so are journalists...

In other countries, check your local laws 🙂

Of course, it's polite to inform someone that you're recording them. More than that, for some people it really improves their attitude and their service. At the moment, I'm going through the tedious process of buying a house - I've found that with some individuals, it's very handy not only to record the call and play it back for reference, but to let the other party know that's what I'm doing.

Listening back to some of my favourite calls over the last year has been very interesting and quite emotional - I can certainly see why our security services enjoy listening in so much!

15 thoughts on “This Call Is Being Recorded

  1. Simon says:

    I've found that when telling people in call centers that you're recording the call, they'll immediately hang up. Gave up recording my calls very quickly. YMMV.

    1. mendicantx says:

      It all depends on location. For example, in Alberta, Canada where I live only one person needs to know the call is being recorded. That means that if *I* am okay with it, I can record the call without telling the other person.

      My point is, check your local laws regarding call recording.

  2. I've been using "Call Recorder" by Skvalex since I got my first android.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skvalex.callrecorder
    To be effective some of the call recording apps need Root + kernel support for direct recording (Best quality), Otherwise they record from the microphone & earpiece (acceptable if a bit noisy).

    My memory is not great at the best of times and this app has been a godsend.
    Also it's great to tell those Spam marketing callers that you are recording the call for security proposes (the tend to hang up when I say this for some reason...) ^_^

  3. "This app is incompatible with all of your devices." - "This item cannot be installed in your device's country." - I'm in the UK 🙁

    1. It should work in the UK - that's where I am. But, yes, currently only works on a few handsets.

  4. I like to record everything (being in a country where one party consent recording is legal) on what I talk on the phone.

    I also keep in my pocket a small mp3 player to record what I talk with others. Every week, I cut the new recordings (I preserve only the conversation, not the background noise), rename the audio files by date, put in directories named based people who I talked, comment them and store them in a archive on my encrypted hard drives. I wrote a software which makes my work easier.

    I do this since 2006 and now I have over 100 GB of audio recordings which represents over 8000 hours of audio.
    It is very cool to listen back old recordings and relive that moments.

  5. I wanted to build something like this too, but I just settled on creating a prank service to freak people out about NSA surveillance. thiscallwillbemonitored.com .. meh, maybe I'll do the call recording thing too, seems like a growing market.

  6. If you are happy to use VOIP, AAISP offer an ability to record calls to MP3 or WAV. Pretty convenient.

  7. Tim H says:

    A couple of things occurred to me from a legality point of view - having never used the app.

    What is the situation if you record a call coming from a country where recording may be considered illegal?
    Does the recording happen automatically?
    If so, might you have a problem when you roam abroad and forget about your recordings?
    If the recordings are stored on Dropbox on a US server and the call comes from a US citizen in the US, is there a problem?
    If the recordings are stored locally (unsure) might you have a problem travelling to any country from which a call may have originated and you recorded?

    The normal everyday uses are interesting but you never know whether you could get caught out sometime with some weird combination of circumstances.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Good points. I've no idea about international laws. I would guess that it depends where the recording takes place (on my phone).
      With the app I use, recording can be automatic, automatic for certain numbers, manual, or deleted at the end of the call.
      Yes, the roaming issue had occurred to me. I usually tell new people "this call is being recorded" - if only I could change my ringback tone!
      As for jurisdiction of DropBox - I have no idea. That's a fairly significant flaw with cloud storage. Ideally, I'd SFTP them to my own secure server.
      Yes, the MP3s are also stored on the phone - just on the SD card so reasonably insecure.

      T

  8. Craig H says:

    I've spoken about "reciprocal transparency" (ht David Brin) of call recording a few times, e.g. slides 11 and 12 of http://www.slideshare.net/heathcr/mobile-security-sticks-and-carrots . I suspect that announcing the recording may still be a requirement in the UK, regardless of the DPA (I seem to recall this being the case long before the DPA, when I built an analogue call recording device in the 1970s). As others have pointed out, applicable laws vary considerably in different jurisdictions, which I believe is the reason it's not a feature offered in off-the-shelf phones.

    1. Tim H says:

      In many ways, it is the automation feature which is likely to be a problem. For most calls, you remember that the call is being recorded and ask your standard question. But as time goes on you start to forget about it and it just carries on recording until the (almost unlimited) local or remote storage gets full.

      Given work and personal calls, the risk of having your phone stolen and the calls being listened to ...

  9. Danielle says:

    are there any apps that actually inform the person at the begining of the call that they are being recorded? or does every app require you to inform every person who calls

    1. Terence Eden says:

      I don't think Android apps can play sounds into a phone call, sorry.

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