In American law, when it comes to recording a telephone call, 38 states allow "one party consent" - namely, as long as one person is ok with recording the call (i.e., you) the other party doesn't need to give approval or consent (source, bottom of page 1).

Have a couple questions:

  1. Would this halachically be allowed and why yes or no? ( ex: "yes"- dina d'malchusa dina, "no" geneivas da'as, I never would have said something if I knew I was being recorded)

  2. However we rule on Q1, would that be extended to being recorded on video or would that perhaps be different?

  • Of course it is allowed, as you use your phone all the time to record audio/video and take pictures on the street. That's not the question, the real question is the use of that recordings. This is a clear overriding of לא תלך רכיל - the prohibition of gossip see he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – Al Berko
    Feb 21, 2019 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


Regarding your first question, it is mostly prohibited with some possible exceptions (CYLOR before doing this in practice). I have bolded the specific issues identified by these poskim. Nearly all these issues apply to your second question as well.

R Shlomo Dichovsky (“Ha’azanat Seter” in Torah Shebe’al Peh 35, p. 57) is quoted here as writing

Although it would not be permitted to tap phones in general, and to listen or publicize others’ conversations (because of prohibitions such as publicizing others’ secrets, the cherem of R. Gershon, heizek re’iah, and others, which are discussed by poskim), it would be permitted for the sake of saving oneself from damage, based on the principle of avid inish dina lenafsheh.

businesshalacha.com writes

In halachic literature (C.M. 228) [geneivas daas] is classically described as the act of misleading and deceiving someone in a manner that will cause this person to mistakenly feel morally indebted, even though he is not actually indebted. Thus secretly recording someone does not violate the prohibition of geneivas daas. Nevertheless we do find authorities who would consider such an act geneivas daas (see Chikekei Lev 1, Y.D. 49 and Pele Yo’etz, Geneivah).

But there are additional issues to consider. This act may possibly violate the Cherem D’Rabbeinu Gershom (Be’er Hagolah, Y.D. 334), who prohibits reading other people’s correspondence. It is debatable whether this ban extends to all manner of communication or whether it is limited to written correspondence. It is obvious that, at the very least, it constitutes a violation of v’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha (see Chikekei Lev ibid., which suggests this as the underlying rationale behind Rabbeinu Gershom’s cherem).

Additionally, some write that it is prohibited to reveal a friend’s private concerns, which is an extension of the prohibition of tale-bearing (rechilus). If one may not tell tales to others, one may certainly not seek tales for himself (Halachos Ketanos 1:6).

Some contend that secretly recording conversations is a form of hezek re’iyah — the prohibition against causing damage by gazing at another. It is broadly defined as the prohibition against violating another person’s privacy, even if he is aware of it, as he might be too embarrassed to protest.

Chazal relate that when Bilam observed that placement of the tents of the Jews was done in a way that assured each one’s privacy, he commented that that made them worthy to receive the Divine presence (see Shulchan Aruch Harav, Nizkei Mammon 11:13). The obvious extension of this principle is that secretly recording a conversation is a violation of privacy and represents a lack of tznius.

Nevertheless, for purposes of chinuch it may be permitted to secretly record a conversation when necessary (see Rashba 1:557), for example, to afford one the opportunity to prevent someone from sinning or to be able to recover money that is owed to him (Pele Yo’etz).


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