NPC Advisory Opinion on Recording of Telephone Conversation
In Advisory Opinion No. 2023-010, the National Privacy Commission (NPC) responded to an inquiry on the propriety of the recording feature of the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone system of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (Academy).
The VoIP phone is a software-based telephone designed to use VoIP technology to send and receive calls over an IP network. This system automatically records and saves outgoing telephone calls, under the management of the Information Technology Services Unit (ITSU). The policies on the use of the phones do not include conversation recording, and neither were the employees notified of the feature.
The NPC explained that recording telephone conversations may be considered as a form of data processing given that personal data may be given out therein. Although the recording is not prohibited by the Data Privacy Act (DPA), such must have a legitimate purpose that is not contrary to law, morals, or public purpose. Given the facts provided, the NPC said that the only applicable basis for processing would be to obtain the consent of the data subjects. However, the purposes provided (to maintain detailed call records, to recover missed calls, and to protect the Academy and its employees) failed to qualify under the criterion of legitimate interest.
The Advisory Opinion closed with a recommendation for the Academy to gather the consent of the data subjects; and to have a review of the Academy’s security policies.
The Advisory Opinion may be read in full here.