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Privacy - Recording of International Phone Calls - Australian Law?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by fiftyeight, 1 June 2015.

  1. fiftyeight

    fiftyeight Guest

    Hello, this issue is probably not related to Australian law. I live in Australia, but this is about a phone call I made from Israel to Germany. I called to book a flight to Australia and was given certain terms for my flight ticket. I booked the ticket and now the claims that were made during the phone conversation by the airline are not being respected. I have recorded the call, but I am wary of using the recording if it was in fact not legal to record the call.

    The thing which complicates this the most is that it was an international phone call, so I am not sure which law applies here. What I'd like is to find out the following:
    1. Which law applies to this case. I know it's related to privacy law (recording a phone call) but since it was an international call, which law applies to it? the law of the country where I made the phone call? where the phone call was answered? where I am a resident?
    2. GIven the answer to 1, does that law forbid recording the call.
    3. Given 2, if it does forbid recording the call, what would be the potential punishment for doing so?

    I would appreciate anyone who could point me to some direction. It is hard for me to research this as I do not even know which law applies to this case. I would assume it is a very small chance that the airline would file charges against for recording the call, but still I would like to have more certainty about whether what I done was legal or not.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    (i) The phone call: the law that would apply is the law in effect in the place where you made the call.

    (ii) The ticketing: This is essentially a consumer law question.
    Somewhere in the terms and conditions (possibly in very small print),
    there will be a "Choice of Law" clause. That's what will apply to the transaction with the airline.
     
    Sarah J likes this.
  3. fiftyeight

    fiftyeight Guest

    Thank you very much for your answer.
    Could you refer me to any source on this though? i.e (i), that the law which applies is that of the place where I made the call.

    Cheers,
    Ofek G.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I'm sorry, but I don't actually keep the entire Hachakika Bemedinat Yisrael on my iPad.

    I will however add this.... criminal law operates geographically.
    Recording phone calls without authority is an offence in many countries.
    If it so happens that it is an offence in Israel,
    and you made the recording in Israel, then you would
    (at least theoretically) be exposed to prosecution there.
     
  5. fiftyeight

    fiftyeight Guest

    Haha, yes that makes sense.
    I was mostly wondering about the argument that the law which applies is the one of the country where I made the phone call. I would like to have a source for this. Could you point me in the right direction for how I could verify this?

    If it is indeed so, I should be clear, as in Israel recording phone calls is legal.

    Cheers.
     
  6. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    It's an accepted norm of International Law that states don't meddle in the internal affairs of other states.

    In simple(ish) language, it's the doctrine of the "recognition of state sovereignty and the principle of non-interference".
    As a matter of history, "internal affairs" includes the operation of the criminal law in one state or another,
    just as it does the operation of a country's internal telecommunications system..
    A recent example of this doctrine in operation (albeit on a somewhat different fact set) is discussed here (credit to @Sarah J for that...)

    If you want to see norm that written down somewhere, in the full floridity of diplomatic language,
    you can see it expressed here.
    That's possible. I'd be interested to see an (Israeli) authority on that point.
     
  7. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Fiftyeight,

    Whether you are allowed to record phone conversations is determined by the privacy law of that country. The source for this is usually in the form of a piece of legislation (or many pieces of legislation) in Israel. I am not familiar with Israeli law, however, a good place to look would be their privacy act (or equivalent), previous cases on this issue determined in Israeli courts.

    In some cases, multiple countries may be able to hear the matter (meaning multiple countries' legislation applies). The source of this would be each of these countries' set of conflict of laws rules. If you're interested, Australia's conflict of laws principle is "forum of most convenience" which means, if Australia is the most convenient forum to hear a case, then Australia will be willing to hear it (note: this does not mean Australia will end up hearing it). I bring up court jurisdiction because laws are nothing without enforcement. Further, the scope of a country's statutes are usually consistent with that country's conflict of laws rules (again, because it's the courts that enforce the laws).

    In your case, there is a strong argument for the laws of Israel to apply given the phone call occurred from Israel, used Israel's telecommunications networks, you (as the caller) were physically located in Israel, and the recording occurred in Israel. However, if you want the exact source, you'll need to ask an Israeli lawyer.

    As for whether you can record the conversation, given this conversation occurred during the course of trade during which an oral agreement was entered into, it would be reasonable for the conversation to be recorded. In Australia, most service providers record conversations in which sales have been made otherwise they cannot rely on the contract later on. However, again, you will need to refer to Israeli law.
     

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