I thought I’d give this post a fairly descriptive title, just to get the point across.

There is some significant FUD that has entered my marketplace recently. A quick bit of background:

In certain jurisdictions, call recordings must be maintained for a period of time (6 months in the UK) if they are made under specific conditions (eg FCA COBS 11.8). They are the incorruptible record of a transaction, and so are important.

In other cases, as a matter of good practice, companies keep records of phone calls: If they have personal information in them, then a whole raft of legislation comes raining down about for how long and under what circumstances they can be held.

Someone, somewhere, and I know exactly who, has been suggesting that somehow, if you make an automated transcript of a call, then it magically becomes a “record”, and has to be kept for 6 or 7 years (depends on which version of the urban myth you believe). As you can imagine, this is what someone who had a vested interest in stopping you buying a transcription system would say, as they are having you believe that you have added a huge retention burden by transcribing. That someone would either have slow speech-to-text capability, or be selling a phonetic indexing solution, or possibly both. They would probably be worried about a company that sold a very, very fast and accurate speech-to-text system (with phonetics to boot…)

Now, I’m a lawyer by training, and so this just felt wrong to me. So I did some research, and found no basis for it at all, something I started to mention at meetings. And I was asked whether I had taken my own legal advice on the matter (I tried not to bristle at having my legal acumen and integrity impugned).

So I did: I asked one of the foremost Financial Services lawyers in one of the foremost Financial Services legal firms in the world. I asked this person to give it to me straight.

And the answer was that there is no reason at all why a transcript would transform into a protected species, whether made in a regulated environment or not. Lots of analogies were drawn, and lots of words were written, but the upshot is that you can make a transcript, you can change a transcript and you can delete a transcript: You just don’t have to retain a transcript, unless you delete the original audio file, in which case the usual (say 6 month) period applies, worst case.

Happy to recommend a good lawyer if you don’t believe me!

Image from http://tinyurl.com/napa8vu

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