Wiretapping case: Taping the Police

The Patriot News reports (“Taping was legal, defense attorneys in wiretap case say“) that “Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed said he will review all evidence before deciding whether to prosecute an 18-year-old Carlisle man for taping a police officer during a traffic stop.But two defense attorneys versed in wiretapping cases said Brian D. Kelly shouldn’t even have been charged. The state Supreme Court has ruled that taping police in such public situations is legal, they said. xxx Kelly is charged under a state law that forbids the recording of oral communications without consent. That count carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison.”

The Philippines has its own version of this law – the Anti-Wiretapping Law (Republic Act 4200), which law became well-known because of the Garci Tapes.

So, if you’re flagged down by an officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and you record the conversation, would you be liable under the Anti-Wiretapping Law? I’m sure this will be the subject of a lively debate.

In the meantime, here are suggestions how to go about in recording a conversation (meetings, HR administrative hearings, etc), just to be safe:

1. Inform the other party that you’re going to record the conversation. Ask if he/she consents to the recording.

2. If consent is given, push the record button, repeat Step 1, then proceed with the conversation. This way, the consent is also included in the recording, preventing the other party from denying it later.

You may also have noticed that when you call the phonebanking service of your bank or your cellphone provider, there’s usually an opening message informing you that the conversation may be recorded for a stated purpose. Is this sufficient compliance with the Anti-Wiretapping Law?

One comment

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