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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 20:26:16 -0400 Subject: Taping Phone Conversations I would just like to add some thoughts on taping ones own phone conversations. Usually when I post I have a definite opinion. In this case however I have some thoughts to prohibit it but am not certain. My starting point is the Laws of Neighbors. The fact that I and my neighbor each own our own property doesn't end there. There is a mysterious "right to privacy". For example, we can force each other to build a partition to prevent us from seeing each other (and this even though we both own our own property). Indeed, even if our two roofs our only "facing each other" across a public avenue and the passerbys in the street can see us we can still force each other to pay for partitions that prevent ourselves from seeing each other if we use these roofs e.g. for laundry--the argument being--"the passerbys see us occasionally and we see each other allthe time". Thus a concept of "privacy" exists which necessitates people abstaining from otherwise permissable actions. In a similar manner it may be understood that when I talk on a phone and produce a non permanant conversation I don't want my privacy violated by having a permanant record of it since it would cause me "the anxiety of my privacy being violated". To the argument: >>but it is your phone conversation --why can't you record it>> I would answer...could you for example video a guest taking a shower in your house (without his knowledge) on the grounds that it is your house and that you intend either not to show it or to only show it to members of the same sex. I think the point is that your guest doesn't have to trust you on when you will use the tape(=privacy) Incidentally there was actually a court case a few years ago: One firm in Massachusetts was videotaping employees dressing (as part of a drug surveillance program). One day one of the reals labelled e.g. "Dressing room B-April 7th 1980" was found carelessly lying around. This is how they discovered it. The union took them to court but I don't know what happened (any lawyers out there remember the case--as I indicated, the defense was that they were doing drug surveillance) Russell Jay Hendel; RHendel @ mCs . Drexel .Edu