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 and Access) 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
  • to provide a record in the event of a dispute about the transaction
  • to improve customer service.

Telephone companies may also need to monitor the quality of transmission on the telecommunications network for maintenance purposes. The Communications Alliance Ltd (formerly ACIF) have developed strict guidelines around this form of monitoring to protect customer privacy. If you would like more information about this monitoring, contact your telephone company providing your service.

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