With the rise of online communication tools such as Skype, people are increasingly using these tools for a range of activities both good and bad.
If you feel that you need to monitor somebody’s calls then a simple answer would be to insert a spy camera in the room where the computer is based.
However, in most cases, this will be on a laptop that can be moved anywhere.
The answer is voice logging.
And the best bit is….. it’s practically untraceable.
The early versions of voice loggers were installed on USB sticks and had to sit in the computer to work.
Not too bad for hefty desktops when the base unit is on the floor.
However in the modern age of super-thin laptops that will not work.
The new breed of voice loggers can be installed using a lot of different methods.
The initial new breed of loggers were installed over the web by remotely connecting to the target computer.
However, anti-malware, firewalls and a host of OS-based security measures have now made this very difficult.
The very latest voice loggers go back to using USB sticks.
However, when inserted, this installs in an instance and then remains on the computer, completely transparent to the user.
There are quite a few of the USB voice loggers around by my favourite is the Paraben voice logger.
Paraben voice logger
Although this is a great piece of spy technology, it has one major caveat, it only runs on a Windows PC.
Therefore if you have a Mac or a Linux system then this will not work.
One of the things I personally liked about the paraben voice logger is that is records EVERYTHING that the computer’s microphone picks up.
So this is including any background conversations.
Also, the recording kicks off whenever any sound is detected so no need for complicated recording schedules.
If the computer is switched off the recordings will stop but not if the computer is put into sleep mode which I thought was a clever touch.
The installation couldn’t be quicker, it’s simply a case of inserting the USB drive and following a couple of simple prompts.
Once it is installed there is no further need to attend the computer.
All other operations can be done remotely.
Only has to be installed once
Once the recording is complete, an MP3 (the most common recording format) file is emailed to an address of your choice.
It can also be configured so that a backup file is stored on the actual PC.
A nice feature is that it can be configured to automatically encrypt the recording.
This means that if it was discovered then it wouldn’t be replayable.
However, the major drawback to this is that you will need to physically attend the PC.
It is worth noting that these recordings are also time stamped which can be crucial when collating evidence over a long period.
Parabens Voice Logger Software
Once installed the application is really simple to use and has a host of configuration options.
But is it Legal?
Because call loggers can be triggered in a range of different locations and under different circumstances, this is actually a very difficult question.
If the recording is of two people having a conversation via Skype or another messaging platform then the laws around phone conversations will apply.
This states that it’s illegal to record a phone call in which you are not a participant, or couldn’t naturally overhear the conversation in a public place.
The caveat to this is if one of the parties gives consent.
However, if the recording is of background noise and the computer is in your house then this is legal.
It is because the law permits recording and or surveillance video with a hidden camera in your home without the consent of the person you’re recording.
All this is assuming this is not in an area where your subjects have a reasonable expectation of privacy such as bathrooms and bedrooms.
This is further complicated by laws that prevent recordings with the express purpose of blackmail or other “malicious intent.”
The flip side of this is also true as your rights are waived if you engage in criminal behaviour.
So essentially the legality of the recording is dependant on the location (of the recording) and also what you intend to do with the recording.
What other options are there?
There are other many options on the market.
The bulk of these are for Android devices and below I am going to cover the best of these.
A quick word on Apple, their devices are locked down and as such apps both on the desktops and the phones have trouble accessing the administrative functions hence the small number of options when it comes to Apple.
In my experience the best android apps are.
No 1 – Call Recorder from Green Apple Studio
This app is very simple to use and it will automatically record all your phone calls.
When you delve into the settings you will find a lot can be configured.
Firstly you can decide if you really want all calls recording or just outgoing or incoming.
You can ever nominate particular numbers that you would like recording which is very good if you are trying to monitor someone who is a heavy phone user.
Another nice touch is that it allows for a PIN to be set on the app so only the installer can access the recordings.
A key differentiating factor between the apps is how they are monetised. This app has adverts which may or may not suit your requirements.
As with all apps of this nature, this can be turned off by upgrading to the PRO version.
No 2 – Automatic Call Recorder from AppliqatoTools
This app has all the same functions as the Green Apple Studio app.
It does have some added functionality regarding the options of file formatting.
Also, the sharing options are very good and the recordings can be shared on whats app which I really liked.
Unlike the Green Apple Studio app, this does not have adverts.
Instead, you are able to save 200 recordings for free.
Above this number…you guessed it..you have to upgrade to the PRO version.
No 3 – Call Recorder from ACR
When reading around on Android voice loggers this app keeps on cropping up. Llooking at the download figures on google play this certainly appears to be the most popular.
This is well deserved as this has a lot of options. One of the options I liked was that the recordings could be automatically saved to a cloud drive such as Dropbox or Google drive.
As we have said in the past on various other articles this is important because it means the even if the software or the recordings get discovered you have them safely in off-site storage.
This comes with adverts and the pro version turns these off. Disappointingly some of the better configuration options are also reserved for the Pro users.
As the number of methods that people use to communicate on has grown it becomes increasingly difficult to record and track.
With people using a wide range of communication devices it is becoming hard to track all their conversations.
The Paraben voice logger particularly good as it can record both digital conversations and conversations in the room.
However, the key is to know the targets preferred method of communication.
If it’s an android phone there are lots of good options.