Are there rules about recording or monitoring my telephone conversations?
Yes. Monitoring (listening in to), or recording of telephone conversations, is a matter tightly controlled by law. The federal Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 and State and Territory listening devices laws may both apply to this activity. The general rule is that the call may not be recorded. There are exceptions to these rules in very limited circumstances including where a warrant applies.
If a call is to be recorded or monitored, an organisation must tell you at the beginning of the conversation so that you have the chance either to end the call, or to ask to be transferred to another line where monitoring or recording does not take place if this is available.
Reasons organisations may monitor or record conversations could include:
- to protect you in your dealings with the organisation, for example to record your instructions to a stockbroker
- to provide a record in the event of a dispute about the transaction, for example when placing a bet with a TAB
- to improve customer service, for example, monitoring training or coaching of staff who handle telephone calls.
More information on this issue is available in two publications prepared by the Communications Alliance Ltd:
- G516:2004 - Participant Monitoring of Voice Communications: provides assistance in the practical application of the legislation covering listening and recording of communications.
- G517:2004 - Monitoring of Communications for Network Operation and Maintenance: provides recommended procedures to be followed when monitoring and recording voice or non-voice communications when undertaking installation, operation or maintenance of a network.