Google Play store bans call-recording apps

Daniel Sims

Posts: 448   +18
Staff
Why it matters: Google has been cracking down on the ability of third-party Android apps to record calls for a while. Next month it will have closed the last loophole some developers were using to implement the feature.

Earlier this month, Google changed its developer program policy to ban the final method by which third-party Google Play store apps could record calls. The change will go into effect on May 11, after which only apps that ship with Android phones or which Google developed will be allowed to have this functionality.

According to Android recording app developer NLL Apps, Google removed call recording on Android 6 and Android 10 but allowed it in later versions under a special accessibility clause for disabled users. Next month, that clause will no longer allow call recording. A Google spokesperson told The Verge that call recording wasn't an appropriate use of its accessibility API.

Google says privacy concerns are the reason behind the ban. It makes sense to stop apps from recording calls without the user's knowledge, but some might want to record conference or earnings calls. In addition to the exceptions mentioned above, sideloading may still be an option for call recording on Android. Because Google's policy only affects Play store apps, it will do little to stop any malware that wants to record calls, which would have other avenues of attack.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,202   +4,238
Why this is illegal?

I think that recording calls without both parties consent is illegal, it's why every time you call a call center there's always a disclaimer of "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" and why some clever customers once they're talking to an actual human will immediately disclose that either they do not consent to being recorded, or that they are *also* recording the call themselves.

It's kind of a complicated legal area as while I don't necessarily think recording people without letting them know it's a good idea I also know that at least outside the US there's a very rampant industry of extortion that occurs mainly through telephone calls. On the other hand it also facilitates security breaches as the operator masquerading as a telemarketer can be very quick about obtaining your personal information giving you basically no time to think and then just use the recording later to put together enough information to compromise but well, there is no stopping scammers or extortionist anyway: they will just side load or use some secondary device to record the calls so, meh.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,360   +5,586
I think that recording calls without both parties consent is illegal, it's why every time you call a call center there's always a disclaimer of "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" and why some clever customers once they're talking to an actual human will immediately disclose that either they do not consent to being recorded, or that they are *also* recording the call themselves.

It's kind of a complicated legal area as while I don't necessarily think recording people without letting them know it's a good idea I also know that at least outside the US there's a very rampant industry of extortion that occurs mainly through telephone calls. On the other hand it also facilitates security breaches as the operator masquerading as a telemarketer can be very quick about obtaining your personal information giving you basically no time to think and then just use the recording later to put together enough information to compromise but well, there is no stopping scammers or extortionist anyway: they will just side load or use some secondary device to record the calls so, meh.
In the us it depends, some states are one party consent, others are two party consent.
 

CowsGotMilk

Posts: 57   +142
I think that recording calls without both parties consent is illegal, it's why every time you call a call center there's always a disclaimer of "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" and why some clever customers once they're talking to an actual human will immediately disclose that either they do not consent to being recorded, or that they are *also* recording the call themselves.

It's kind of a complicated legal area as while I don't necessarily think recording people without letting them know it's a good idea I also know that at least outside the US there's a very rampant industry of extortion that occurs mainly through telephone calls. On the other hand it also facilitates security breaches as the operator masquerading as a telemarketer can be very quick about obtaining your personal information giving you basically no time to think and then just use the recording later to put together enough information to compromise but well, there is no stopping scammers or extortionist anyway: they will just side load or use some secondary device to record the calls so, meh.

Yes it's illegal to record others, without their notice. But why? I think if your actions legal, why would you mind about it?

There was an action in my homeland, few years ago, where a corrupted town mayor was recorded in a private, face to face talk. He was planning to break laws and steal public wealth. A record was made public. But the judge accused, that a record is illegal...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,202   +4,238
Yes it's illegal to record others, without their notice. But why? I think if your actions legal, why would you mind about it?

There was an action in my homeland, few years ago, where a corrupted town mayor was recorded in a private, face to face talk. He was planning to break laws and steal public wealth. A record was made public. But the judge accused, that a record is illegal...
It has to do with evidentiary rules and being "on the record" and the right to not self incriminate and such. Honestly I tend to agree: I am sure legal scholars can lecture us about the benefits but like most laws, it only ever seems to be applied to protect the rich and the powerful and those people (Like in the case of the aforementioned call centers) seem to always find a way to break those very same laws anyway through legalese technicalities.
 

eforce

Posts: 949   +1,360
Yes it's illegal to record others, without their notice. But why? I think if your actions legal, why would you mind about it?

There was an action in my homeland, few years ago, where a corrupted town mayor was recorded in a private, face to face talk. He was planning to break laws and steal public wealth. A record was made public. But the judge accused, that a record is illegal...

In countries where you can't record you're better off just leaking it, let them loose the next election.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,427   +2,409
Guys. Google isn't banning the act of recording calls.

Subheadline:
"Only Google's own apps, pre-installed apps, and side-loaded apps can record calls"

Also:
 

MakeMSGreatAgain

Posts: 20   +18
Wow so only Google included apps or carrier included apps can record? That's some shady shiznit... but I wouldn't expect less from Google. Google knows ALL.

Guess people will just have to keep doing it the old fashioned way, using an external recorder while on speaker phone.
 

merikafyeah

Posts: 334   +318
Every time I call customer service, I ask:

"May I record this call?"

and then a helpful voice tells me:

"This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes."

So I say, "Thanks I will!" :)
 

ET3D

Posts: 1,782   +415
Call recording can be useful in many cases. If the problem is the requirement to make it known that a call is recorded, then at Google itself should make this functionality available to all phones. Otherwise people who own phones without this functionality are at a disadvantage compared to those who do have it.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,724   +7,666
I think that recording calls without both parties consent is illegal, it's why every time you call a call center there's always a disclaimer of "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" and why some clever customers once they're talking to an actual human will immediately disclose that either they do not consent to being recorded, or that they are *also* recording the call themselves.
In some US states, recording by conversation or telephone requires two party consent. In others only one. Most large businesses work across state lines, hence the notification

Here's some insight:
Eleven states require two-party consent, however. In other words, everyone involved in a conversation must agree to be recorded. Those states are California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

(Don’t let the phrase “two-party” throw you. If there are five people on a call, it would technically require five permissions. The “two” in “two-party” implies everyone on the call knows what’s going on.)

And the link from whence it cometh:
https://www.rev.com/blog/phone-call-recording-laws-state#:~:text=Eleven%20states%20require%20two-party,two-party”%20throw%20you.-

I didn't research federal statutes, leaving something for those interested to undertake.

The "whistle blower", (forget her name),, got jacked up on this statute, when she recorded Monica Lewinsky b!tching about, "Slick Willie", without her consent.
 
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Recording a conversation is a necessary as taking a screenshot, if your a private citizen, doing so on your own behalf it's not questionable.
legal concerns apply to the context of the subject matter, and applications after the fact of implied consent.
see you in or on the court.
 

Indianapolis

Posts: 10   +5
The article says "Only Google's own apps" can record calls. What apps are those? I have a Pixel 6 Pro through Verizon and I live in an state with single-party consent, but I can't find any option or app to record calls.