EPIC Amicus: To Protect Privacy, California Must Preserve All-Party Consent for Call Recording

July 21, 2020

EPIC, the Consumer Federation of California, and Consumer Action have filed an amicus brief urging the California Supreme Court to preserve its long-standing rule requiring all parties to consent to the recording of a call. Consumers in the case, Smith v. LoanMe, sued the online lender for surreptitiously recording customer calls in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act. A lower court dismissed the case because it interpreted the law as only applying to third-party eavesdroppers, not parties to the call. The California Supreme Court is reviewing the decision. The amicus brief argues that “recording a call poses unique threats to privacy because a permanent record of the private communication can be made surreptitiously without the consent, or even knowledge, of the caller.” The brief also explains that “the need to preserve California’s all-party consent law is more urgent now than ever before” because COVID-19 has forced millions of Californians “to conduct their personal and business lives remotely, relying on voice and video calls to complete their work, to pursue their education, to preserve their relationships, and to maintain basic human connections.” EPIC routinely files amicus briefs in cases implicating consumer privacy.

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