Is automatic telephone call transcription legal?

I use an automatic telephone call transcription service. This is wonderful aid to my memory and allows me to respond to calls more effectively when I am not at my desk. (I try to spend at least several hours working or walking outdoors on most most days). Several of the major AI-assisted call services connected to VOIP, video call, and CRM platforms offer this telephone call transcription service. I have used a few. I expect to change services again, possibly next month. I think we presume that they are recording the call to provide this service. But I do not presume to understand their operations or legal position.

My advertising invites non-clients to call for a free no-obligation to discuss their personal matters. I discuss the situation candidly and if can offer practical advice – sometimes even solve the problem – I do that in the initial call. Before I view any documents or take other action, I get a signed engagement agreement. But there is no engagement agreement on the initial call and these callers are not yet clients. I wondered about the legality of this where some callers are located in states with restrictive call recording laws. Is transcription covered under recording? My human lawyers had little to add. The same with POE AI legal assistant.



What legal issue are we examining today?

ME: I work in New Jersey and take incoming phone calls from people throughout all 50 states. Some of those states have laws against recording phone calls. My phone system automatically transcribes the conversation of all calls and sends me a text transcript. Am I violating the law doing this in any state?


This is an important legal issue regarding the recording and transcription of phone calls. As an assistant for legal professionals, let me provide an analysis:

The legality of recording and transcribing phone calls varies by state. Many states have laws that require the consent of all parties on the call before recording is permitted. These are known as “two-party consent” laws.

In states with two-party consent laws, secretly recording a call without the knowledge and agreement of all participants would generally be unlawful. This could potentially apply to your situation, if callers from those states are unaware their conversation is being transcribed.

However, some states only require the consent of one party on the call, known as “one-party consent” laws. In those jurisdictions, as long as you or your staff are aware of and consenting to the recording, it would likely be legal.

To ensure compliance, I would recommend the following:

Identify which states you receive calls from and review their specific laws on call recording and transcription. This will help determine where extra consent may be required.

Consider implementing a disclosure or consent process for callers, such as a recorded message informing them the call may be transcribed. This can help obtain the necessary permission.

Work closely with your legal counsel to develop a policy that balances your business needs with the privacy rights of callers across different state laws.

The key is to be proactive in understanding the relevant laws and taking steps to obtain proper consent where required. This will help mitigate legal risks while allowing you to utilize the transcription technology. Let me know if you have any other questions!


My question did not pertain to the recording of telephone calls. My question was about AI-assisted transcribing of telephone calls. Is it legal in all states to use a phone service that automatically transcribes all phone calls?


Ah I see, thank you for the clarification. The legal implications around AI-assisted transcription of phone calls is a bit more nuanced.

Generally speaking, the mere act of transcribing a phone conversation using AI technology is likely not in and of itself illegal, even in states with two-party consent laws for recording. The key distinction is that transcription does not involve the actual recording or storage of the audio – it is simply converting the spoken words into text.

However, there are a few important considerations:

Data privacy: The transcription process may still involve the collection and potential storage of call contents, even if no audio recording is made. Some states have laws around the handling of personal information obtained through such technological means.

Consent and disclosure: While the transcription itself may be legal, there could be requirements around informing callers that this technology is being used. Failing to disclose this upfront could potentially raise privacy concerns.

Use of transcripts: How you intend to utilize the transcripts is also relevant. If the text contents are then stored, shared, or used for any other purpose beyond the initial transcription, additional legal rules may apply.

To ensure full compliance, I would recommend consulting with a local attorney who specializes in data privacy and telecommunications law. They can help review your specific phone system, transcription practices, and applicable state regulations. Proactively addressing these nuances can help mitigate any legal risks.

I will explore my two business telephone services (Verzion Wireless and Ooma) for a way to put an incoming call announcement “All calls may be recorded or transcribed”. My hunch is that Ooma will be able to add this legal protection but I am not aware that it is available through Verizon Wireless. If this is the case, then calls to my cell phone may remain as some level of legal risk.