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The Law Regarding Recordation of Confidential Information.

In California, it is unlawful to secretly record a conversation whether in-person or while on the telephone. California Penal Code Section 632. The exception to this rule is that a conversation can be secretly recorded if the person being recorded has no reasonable expectation that the conversation is not being overheard or recorded. A conversation is protected if either party reasonably expects that the conversation is not being overheard or recorded. Flanagan v. Flanagan (2002) 27 Cal. 4th 766, 776-777.

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Penalties For Secretly Recording a Confidential Coversation.

A person whose confidential communication has been secretly recorded can recover $5,000.00 against the person who committed the violation, or three times the amount of his/her actual damages, whichever is greater.

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Summary

While other states permit telephone calls to be secretly recorded, California does not. Nor does California permit a conversation to be secretly recorded if it occurs while in the presence of the party being recorded. Such conduct is prohibited by the Penal Code, and carries harsh civil penalties as well.