Privacy

Practical Tips for Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings, and Hearings

Using a recording device, such as a microphone, video recorder, or camera, is a helpful way to capture and preserve information about conversations, interviews, and phone calls in which you participate. It is also a good way to document what takes place in a court hearing or public meeting, whether for personal reference or later broadcast over the Internet. A number of laws affect your ability to use a recording device in these contexts. Here are some practical tips to help you avoid legal trouble when recording conversations, phone calls, meetings, and hearings.

Recording Phone Calls and Conversations

If you plan to record telephone calls or in-person conversations (including by recording video that captures sound), you should be aware that there are federal and state wiretapping laws that may limit your ability to do so. These laws not only expose you to the risk of criminal prosecution, but also potentially give an injured party a civil claim for money damages against you.

Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings

Using a recording device, such as a microphone, video recorder, or camera, is often a helpful way to capture and preserve information about conversations, interviews, and phone calls in which you participate. It is also a good way to document what takes place in a court hearing or public meeting, whether for personal reference or later broadcast over the Internet.

Gathering Private Information

If you physically enter a private area, photograph or take video of people engaged in private activities in places where they reasonably expect to be private, or in some other other way intrude into a person's privacy (by, for example, opening the person's mail), you could be liable for a violation of what is called "intrusion upon seclusion." If you collect certain personal data, this can also intrude into a person's private affairs.

Rhode Island Family Court v. Grant

Date: 

08/17/2007

Threat Type: 

Other

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Anne Grant

Type of Party: 

Government

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Rhode Island Family Court; Supreme Court of Rhode Island

Case Number: 

07-334-MP

Legal Counsel: 

Thomas R. Bender (for Grant)

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Description: 

Anne Grant maintains a blog, The Custody Scam, where she "writes about official actions that endanger children and parents trying to protect them." Grant used the blog to write about a child custody case involving minors "Sara Doe" and "Mary Doe" (pseudonyms). The blog criticized the manner in which the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) handled the Doe case. In particular, Grant objected to the DCYF hearing officer's reliance on a theory known as "parental alienation syndrome" to remove the two children from their mother's custody and to place one of them with the father, who had previously been accused of sexually abusing them -- charges that the DCYF held to be unfounded. While the blog entries did not reveal the minors' identities, they did include personal information and photographs of the children.

The family court judge handling the Doe case ordered DCYF to "advise" Grant to remove "any and all written and pictoral information" relating to the children involved, and to "cease publication of the blog as it pertains to these children."

Grant objected to the order and sought to have the Rhode Island Supreme Court vacate it. In her petition, Grant argued that the family court's order violated her due process rights and was an overbroad restraint on her speech. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case without providing an explanation for its refusal, but some speculate that the court refused to review the order because it was directed at DCYF, not Grant.

 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is a statement placed in an easily visible place on a website informing users about how the website deals with users' personal information. Privacy policies generally explain whether and how users' information will be shared with third parties, including parent companies or subsidiaries. It frequently explains whether and how the website uses cookies.

Legal Protections for Anonymous Speech in Arizona

Note: This page covers information specific to Arizona. For general information concerning legal protections for anonymous speech see the Legal Protections for Anonymous Speech section of this guide.

In both cases where Arizona courts have considered attempts to unmask an anonymous online speaker, Arizona courts have applied tests that are highly protective of anonymous speech. The two cases are discussed below:

Doe v. Green

Date: 

04/26/2007

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Issuing Legal Threat: 

Jane Doe

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Simon P Green; American Medical Response Northwest Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court for the State of Oregon, Multnomah County

Case Number: 

0704-04734

Legal Counsel: 

Karen Marie Okasey (for Green); Elizabeth Schleuning (for American Medical)

Publication Medium: 

Social Network

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Dismissed (partial)

Description: 

Simon Green, a paramedic for American Medical Response, posted information on his MySpace page about a rape victim he had transported to the hospital. He did not disclose the patient's name, but he mentioned where he picked her up and related her description of the sequence of events of the rape and her description of the assailant. According to the plaintiff, the media was able to locate her home from the information posted.

The patient sued Green and his employer anonymously. Her complaint included claims for negligence and breach of a duty of confidentiality imposed by various federal and state laws relating to patient health information.

According to one of the lawyers involved in the case, the judge granted summary judgment in favor of the employer, American Medical Response, and it is on appeal. The case against co-defendant Simon Green currently was set for trial in mid-June but as of May 29, 2008, the case has been stayed.

Jurisdiction: 

CMLP Notes: 

to-do: monitor status; get court documents

DA: Sent email to plaintiff's attorney on 4/16/08 seeking update; added update from lawyer.

Docket is available from Westlaw; search for case number  070404734

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Privacy