Is it legal to put a call on speakerphone without asking caller for permission? What if no one else is listening?

Asked about 4 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

A person called an office and was put on speakerphone by the employee and the caller said it was against the wiretaping laws to put someone on speakerphone without permission.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Steven Alan Fink

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . CA Penal Code 632a does not prohibit a call on a speakerphone if the other party knows OR if there is noone else listening. However, if the other party expects the communication to be confidential, if a thrid person is present without their presence being disclosed it might be a violation of CA law.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . CA is an "all party" state that requires the consent of everyone on a telephone call or in a conversation to listen to it or tape it, with Penal Code criminal statutes to prevent violations.

    As my colleague notes, it's the caller's expectation of privacy that governs, so if a conversation isn't intended to be private, like at a workplace with no walls, then there's no expectation of privacy in those conversations. Sometimes telephone calls made to offices aren't about private matters and aren't expected to be private.

    Since there are criminal statutes that enforce these violations, someone whose rights have been violated and who has been damaged by the violation would have to convince law enforcement officials to refer the matter to a DA for prosecution of the infringer.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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