Is it legal to record a business phone call in the UK?

is it legal to record a phone call uk

Threads uniquely aggregates emails and phone calls in one database, making searching for information on a specific company or individual really easy.

However, we are often asked, “is it illegal to record a conversation in the UK?”

To answer your questions, we put this article together to try and help customers navigate the various UK legislation.

Is it Legal to Record a Phone Call in the UK? What to Know

A note before we begin: The law in the UK regarding recording conversations and calls varies between individuals and businesses. The law may be different in your jurisdiction and according to your individual circumstances, so you should always ensure you seek legal advice before deciding whether to record calls.

Is recording conversations without knowledge legal for businesses?

Under the Telecommunications Regulations 2000, a business is permitted to the act of recording conversations without knowledge given to the other person.

At first glance, the answer to “is it legal to record a phone call in the UK for businesses,” appears to be yes.

However, this answer does not end here! There are several requirements you must meet for the recording to be legal.

If a business is using this recorded call for any of the following reasons, then the act of recording conversations without knowledge given to the participant remains legal:

  • To establish the existence of facts.
  • Ascertain compliance with another regulation or self-regulatory practices.
  • Ascertain that a person has carried out their work to a required standard.
  • In the interests of national security or to prevent or detect criminal activity.
  • To ensure the communication system operates effectively.
  • To allow the business to investigate or detect unauthorised use of the system.

In addition, this legislation requires that the person recording the calls must show the following:

  • The recording is solely for the purposes of monitoring or keeping a record of communications relevant to the business.
  • The phone system used is provided for use in connection with the business
  • That the business has made reasonable efforts to inform any person using the system that calls may be recorded, for example, making it clear in your terms and conditions that calls may be recorded.

Can I keep a copy of the recording?

The requirements that explain if it is legal to record a phone call in the UK also extend to what you do with the eventual recording.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) considers the recorded call a voice file containing personal information. Therefore, you must treat a recorded call as you would any other piece of personal data. Accordingly, consideration should be given to the circumstances under which you retain a copy of a recording.

To justify the processing of the recording, you must demonstrate that the purpose fulfills one of the Article 6 conditions:

  • The participant has given consent for you to process their data for a specific purpose.
  • A recording is necessary to fulfill a contract with the other person in the recording.
  • The recording is necessary to fulfill a legal obligation to which you are subject (excluding contractual obligations).
  • Recording is necessary to protect the life of one or all participants.
  • The recording is in the best public interest.
  • You or a third party have a legitimate interest in processing the recording. An exception to this is if there is a good reason to protect an individual’s personal data.

By and large, these are general requirements and legislation that relate to recording a phone call in the UK.

As previously mentioned, these laws can change depending on factors such as your business’ industry.

There are laws regulating industries, such as banks and financial institutions, that require them to keep copies of transactions.

However, organisations or call centres that typically record calls only for training or quality purposes may have to provide further evidence.

How should I store and manage call recordings?

If you meet the above criteria, your next step is to consider storing this data.

Do you have a plan for storing, managing, and disposing of these recordings?

Call storage management is an area where businesses often fall down on as they are unable to do the following:

  • Ascertain which call recordings meet the GDPR conditions and therefore can be legitimately kept
  • Identify or associate call recordings with a specific customer or person after the event. Additionally, many have no means of searching for the same information.
  • Easily retrieve or delete the data if a subject access request is served. This can also occur due to a right to be forgotten by an interested party.

It is, therefore, important that if you are going to record and store call recordings that you have a system in place that enables such recordings to be accessible within a short period of time.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be legal advice and is not a substitute for taking your own legal advice according to the individual circumstances.