Recording instant messages illegal?

Hey. I have a question here for all of you experts of law. This person and I had a discussion online of AOL Instant Messenger. They saved it and posted it for public viewing on their online journal. Our conversation had several things that I did not want other people to know. Now I thought I read somewhere that it was illegal to record a phone conversation without 1 or both persons permissions, which included over the internet as long as it was over the phone line. I was pretty sure that it also said that IM was included in that. It was over the phone line on my connection but over cable on their’s as they have road runner. I would like to know if this or any part of it is true as I would like to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Also, I live in Florida if that makes any difference. I greatly appreciate any info you guys give me on this.

P.S. Is there maybe a site that has this law on it somewhere that I can go to?

Yea, I am pretty sure they cant do that. You might have to check the terms of use that come with AIM. As far as I know you cant record a conversation unless your name is the US Government and you have a nifty tool called Carnivore and some other unknown one.

you can record a conversation as long as the other person knows it is being recorded, this can be on the phone , face to face. As far as I know If you knew that your conversation was going to be recorded then you dont have a leg to stand on. But if you didn’t know get em :wink: It is illegal

Thx for your responses so far. I am hoping more of you will contribute as I would like to be as sure as possible before I see a lawyer.

I think that you got the impression that the IM was recorded by a third party. It was recorded by the person that I was talking to and posted by that same person.

I dont know about AOL, but ICQ records your conversations.
So you using the software signifies you understand how it works.

Hence, you know he could posibly be recording the conversation.
Therefore, you have no leg to stand on.

forget it!!:confused:

for one thing in truth what would you be suing for slander?

in order to sue for that people would have to know your full name and if so were you discussing any illegal activity and was what was said true if it was true then cant for slander.
if what was stated is true about you (of course its your words)
you cant for that.

it come to either a civil matter or a criminal matter and if hes broken some law it would be a criminal leg to stand in civil court.

now i know people think that you cannot record a phone conversion,but you can if that person is discussing illegal activity ect(federal law)

now if your state has some law that says you cannot record phone conversations and you were discussing illegal activity the state cannot act because federal law beats state law anytime.

i spoke one time to a lawer on a similar manner on the phone subject.he said they dont really want people to know that they can record phone do you think the police bust people by recording ect?

but of course discuss this matter with a lawer but im sure he tell you the same thing!


I think the answer is contained in the fact that you were using IM, which records everything you type in it. That would imply that you knew it was being recorded, you just didn’t know what this person intended to do with the info. There may still be laws protecting you from his/her malicious intent, in placing it in a public place to deface you, but then you would have to demonstrate that you indeed had some damage to you or your business as a result of his actions, and not just hurt feelings, it must be quantifiable.

Sorry, but if you got burned because you used AOL to chat with someone and they printed it out: That’s not “spoken” as much as “written” and probably not subject to the same laws. There are probably parts of the EULA that protects AOL from this as well or maybe states something. AOL IM is far from secure.

You need to start thinking of how to get even now, I guess.

(It’s like when people take naked pictures and they are leaked out…if they knowingly took them, and later that relationship went bad: There is nothing they can do. They willingly did this.

So better think about what your actions will possibly do in the future for whatever you do in this increasingly recorded/videotaped/watched world.

Big brother is watching you.

write him a letter and forbid him from recording it. same principle, in my eyes, but im not a trial judge. look at what the guys at do when they get legal threats.

It’s very unfornate for you man, 'cause A LOT of people log their IM conversations, whether they do it intentionally or not. Trillian logs everything by default (AIM, ICQ, Yahoo, mIRC, MSNet), and can be easily retrived by the push of a button on the active window. It’s the net man, nothing’s safe, once you type it, it’s public.

You might be able to try talking to the person’s ISP and getting the info removed that way. Many ISP’s have a policy that prevents publishing personally damaging information on their servers.

I went to the AOL website and what they did was against the “Code of Conduct.” I notified them of it and am waiting for a response. I’ll let ya know what happens.

There must be quite many people who post messenger contents on the web. I myself have done it quite often and some were done clearly without any previous agreement. But I do it only when I strongly feel it is morally the right thing to do. It is both right and wrong in the legal sense. From reading the above posts, I cannot decide whether it is legal or illegal or how the court will judge. I also quote email contents often on public boards that millions and billions of people can access if they want to.


The information you posted here seems incomplete and vague. I think it should be you and only you who can judge whether you can prove it is right or not before bringing it to the court.

I log my Messenger and mIRC conversations. Just nice to have them when you need to know about some conversation. Or maybe I’m just too paranoid. :slight_smile:

logging is ok but when you take that conversation and publish it/ show to someone else that is illegal. It is the same as a phone conversation I am talking to you no one else.

Originally posted by slayerking
logging is ok but when you take that conversation and publish it/ show to someone else that is illegal. It is the same as a phone conversation I am talking to you no one else.

What does one do when spammed, abused, lied, cheated, or trying to bribe? Well, anyone who really wants the information to remain confidential should talk to whoever may or may not publish it or show to someone else?