The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is okay to secretly record a conversation if the recording is not used for nefarious purposes. The court’s decision and ruling was in response to a probate case concerning a dying mother, her son, and the son’s stepfather in which the son had recorded a family conversation regarding his mother’s dying wishes. >
The son’s recording occurred without the consent or knowledge of any of the parties involved. As it turns out, the dispute arose because the mother did not have a will and the son had used the recording that he had made with a $0.99 iPhone app to further his case. The stepfather charged that the son had illegally recorded a private conversation, citing the Wiretap Act.
In response to the case, the appeals court wrote, “The defendant must have the intent to use the illicit recording to commit a tort of crime beyond the act of recording itself,” and further, “hold that the exception to the one-party consent provision of 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(d) requires that a communication be intercepted for the purpose of a tortious or criminal act that is independent of the intentional act of recording,”