Every state in the union has specific laws regarding recording a phone conversation, and Maryland is no different. The majority of states require that only one person in the party be notified that the phone conversation is being recorded. This avoids wiretapping, where a third party is eavesdropping on the conversation without either party knowing.
In the state of Maryland, the law specifically states that either party, or every party on the line, must be notified that the phone conversation is being recorded. This ensures that no one is left believing that their conversation was private, when actually it was not.
In addition, the law typically extends to having a conversation while recording it with another individual. When taping a conversation in person, every individual participating in the conversation needs to be aware that it is being recorded.
Conversations between Maryland and Another State
So, exactly what happens if an individual wants to record a conversation between someone living in Maryland and calling another state, or calling from another state to someone in Maryland? Typically, the answer to that question is to follow the more strict statute, which in this case would be following Maryland law.
As an example, if an individual from Arizona (a state that only requires one person be notified) is conversing with an individual on the phone in Maryland, they will need to abide by Maryland law. This ensures that the rights of the Maryland individual have been fully protected under their state law.
Under nearly every type of situation in every state, it is often illegal to record any type of conversation or phone call when the individual is not a party to the conversation. Only Vermont has laws on the book that do not consider recording a conversation without consent a criminal penalty for an unlawful act.
Taking the Appropriate Steps
Any individual that finds themselves in need of recording a telephone call or having a conversation in person and wanting to use a recording device needs to follow the law. Any type of device that can capture sound cannot be used without consent of both parties, or every individual involved in the conversation. Any other action is considered a violation of state and federal wiretapping laws that strictly prohibits the action.
If the individual does not take the appropriate steps, they could be exposing themselves to criminal prosecution. In addition to that, they are leaving themselves open to the potential of having a civil claim filed against them for monetary damages.
Looking at it from the side of the law, it is imperative to receive the communication consent of every individual participating in the conversation. This “two-party consent” requirement extends to every party.
Everyone should also be fully aware that recording any type of conversation in private, without the use of a telephone, also must follow Maryland law. Using secret monitoring devices is considered bugging, and violates the law, unless everyone involved is fully aware and has given consent to the recording.
Torturous Intrusion of Privacy
More than just being deceitful, recording a conversation without everyone’s consent can be considered a torturous intrusion of his or her privacy. Using any type of eavesdropping equipment can violate state law and subject the individual to harsh criminal consequences.
In Maryland, there is always a reasonable expectation of an individual’s privacy when in conversation with another. One would reasonably expect that a phone conversation between two or more parties would be considered a private conversation, and one that would be protected under the law. Be sure and always consider the ramifications of breaking the law if choosing to eavesdrop or record a conversation without everyone’s consent.
Before you take any action to record phone conversations on your own, speak to one of our private security consultants today. Contact us for an initial conversation.