The Pennsylvania Superior Court, the intermediate appellate court, held that a man who used a “voice memo” app on his smart phone to record a conversation should be charged with interception of oral communications, a violation of the Wiretap Act.
Section 5703 of the Wiretap Act provides that this is a third-degree Felony.
Our clients, in Family Law matters, advise us that their spouses or significant others are abusive to them over the telephone or disclose other communication which they believe may be helpful in their case. They want to record conversations to prove this conduct or these facts. They ask us if they are permitted to do so. Sometimes, they record the conversation and then tell us after they have done so. This Court decision illustrates that the conduct by our client in recording this conversation may be criminal, and as such, we certainly cannot us this conversation in court as evidence.
The Court went on to state:
“Although [the individual] used an app on his smartphone, rather than
a concealed tape recorder, to surreptitiously record his conversation with
[the other party], the result is the same. His actions constituted a violation
of Section 5703″.
Recorder Beware! You could be charged a Felony if you record conversations in this manner. Certainly, one cannot use these conversations in court if the conversations have been recorded in this manner.