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Given how relatively common it is for presidents and shady political activist groups to secretly record phone conversations, it makes it seem possibly acceptable. But is it? Turns out the answer is kinda complicated. If you’re thinking of secretly recording a conversation with someone, you should probably read this first. Whether you’re recording a phone call or an in-person conversation or trying to record the conversations of others, it all comes down to consent, and how the federal government and each state’s individual laws define that. You might want to capture your enemy’s true nature on tape for all to hear, but here’s the deal: it’s probably illegal. What federal law says According to the Wiretap Act of 1968 (18 U.S.C. § 2511.) , it’s illegal to secretly record any oral, telephonic, or electronic communication that is reasonably expected to be private. So, for example, recording a conversation with somebody in a bedroom, with the door shut, on private property, without them knowing is technically a federal crime in the loosest sense. There are, however, a few exceptions to this law that create some sizable loopholes. The biggest being the “one-party consent” rule that says you can record people secretly if at least one person in the conversation consents to the recording, or if the person recording is authorized by law to do it (like a police officer with a warrant). If we go back to our bedroom recording, that means you could record your conversation as long as […]