At Red Mountain Technology Solutions, we focus on business technology including the provision of various business phone systems. We’ve been in the telecommunications industry since 2003 and we’ve watched it evolve over the years. One question we often get asked by a lot of our clients is whether it’s okay to record a phone conversation in Utah.

We understand that there are a number of reasons why someone would want to record a conversation taking place over the phone. Regardless of the scenario, it’s important to know call recording laws not only in Utah but other states as well. For instance, say you’re in Utah and are making a call to Arizona. You’ll need to know whether the laws there allow you to record phone conversations.

To try to clear things up, we decided to highlight some of Utah’s call recording laws that people should be mindful of.

Utah’s Call Recording Laws

1. Utah Code § 77-23a-4

The best place to begin is by looking at Utah’s Interception of Communications Act found in Utah Code § 77-23a-4. This outlines the instances in which it’s legal (or not) to record a conversation, including those held on the phone.

Under Utah’s laws it’s legal to record a conversation under the following conditions:

  • If you’re party to the communication i.e. you are personally involved (are a contributor) in the phone call.
  • If at least one of the parties to the conversation has given you prior consent to record the conversation. This is referred to as one-party consent or one-party notification.
  • You are acting “under color of law”. This means you’ve been authorized by a local, state, or federal agency to intercept a phone call e.g. the police.

In these cases, it’s important to note that you can’t get up and leave the recorder going because that is considered illegal eavesdropping or wiretapping. Also, note that the conditions above only apply if the entire phone call is taking place within the boundaries of Utah. Other states have their own phone call recording laws that apply if you’re calling a different state.

Under the same statute, it is a criminal offense in Utah to knowingly or intentionally:

  • Record or have someone record any wire, electronic, or oral communication without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication. This includes emails, text messages, phone calls, and even private in-person conversations.
  • Use, try to use, or get another individual to use any gadget or device to record any electronic, wire, or oral communication.
  • Pass along the contents of a recorded conversation if you know or have good reason to suspect that the conversation was recorded.
  • Use or try to use the contents of a recorded conversation if you’re aware or have reasonable reason to suspect that the conversation was recorded.

The Act not only covers phone conversations but also any conversation or electronic communication including Skype and other VoIP calls, emails, text messages, faxes, and in-person conversations.

2. Utah Code § 77-23a-3

Another legislation to be aware of includes Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-3. This stipulates that consent isn’t needed to record a non-electronic communication where parties to the conversation are communicating in an environment where there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy.

In case you require consent from those taking part in the conversation to record them, you can gain consent in the following ways:

  • Getting written or verbal consent before the recording is made.
  • Playing a verbal notification before the phone conversation begins e.g. “This may be monitored or recorded for quality control purposes”
  • Repeating an audible beep tone at steady intervals during the duration of the phone call.
3. Utah Code § 76-9-401

According to this statute, installing an audio recorder or a hidden camera with the intention of taping a person in a private place without their consent is a misdemeanor. In this context, a private place is any environment where an individual can reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance or intrusion e.g. their home. This covers installing a device (video or audio) to record a phone conversation that takes place where those party to the conversation had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

4. Utah Code § 77-23a-11 (1999).

This one specifies that it is a felony to record a conversation or share the contents of a recorded conversation in violation of Utah law. If the communication is the radio portion of a cell phone conversation, the infraction is considered a misdemeanor.

If you’re found guilty of this offense, civil liabilities for the unlawful recording of phone conversations can include mandatory damages that range from $50 -$1000 depending on whether you’re a first time or repeat offender. You may also be asked to pay the greater of actual damages suffered by the suing party, $100 per day of the violation, or a total of $10,000.

Exceptions to Call Recording Laws

The following exceptions are made:

  • Phone company employees are permitted to record phone conversations in order to trace a call’s location if the person receiving the call claims they are being harassed by or receiving threats from the caller.
  • Individuals such as landlords, phone company employees, etc. are allowed to provide technical assistance or information to those lawfully authorized to record conversations or conduct electronic surveillance, e.g. the police, as long as they have already received the right authorization from lawful authorities.

These laws prohibiting the recording of phone calls or other communication are designed to protect people’s ability to speak freely and converse with others without fear that what they say will be recorded and end up in court or the press.

This information is meant to be a general guide and isn’t intended to substitute for legal counsel. It’s advisable to consult an attorney if you have questions about the legal implications of recording calls in Utah.

Red Mountain Technology Solutions provides a range of CCTV and business phone systems to suit any enterprise. If you’d like to know which ones would suit your business, get in touch with us at 435-627-2990.