The process of recording in-person or phone conversations without the owner's consent is considered a violation of the sanctity of private life, which is guaranteed by the constitution for all citizens. Egyptian law, therefore, has imposed a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year for anyone who pries, records, or transmits such conversations, through devices equipped for this.
The basis for this is the right to confidentiality during private conversations, and thus, any evidence derived from illegitimate means, or without prior judicial permission, must be disregarded, These procedures however, do not apply to verbal harassment willfully recorded on the victim's phone, which does not need prior judicial permission, since this would not constitute a violation of privacy.
To account for the technological advancements made in recent years and the new crimes these introduce, Law No. 10 of 2003 regulating the telecom sector, penalized the deliberate harassment of others through the misuse of communications equipment meaning that recording in person or phone conversations is the only means of proving these type of crime.
Herein we refer to one of the cases where an individual was accused of verbally harassing and slandering the claimant, who had recorded evidence of this on their phone. The court initially sentenced the defendant to imprisonment for 6 months, and granted compensation for the victim.
This verdict was challenged on the basis that the recording was done by the victim without obtaining permission from the judge, leading the Court of Appeal to acquit their initial verdict.
The ruling was later challenged before the Court of Cassation, where it was argued that the law was misapplied since this is the only real means of proving such a crime.
The Court of Cassation ruled by overturning the challenged verdict and further explained that the appellant's request to nullify the challenged ruling acquitting the respondent of the crime of insult and slander by phone and rejecting her civil lawsuit, is accepted by the court of cassation as the challenged verdict constitutes a misapplication of the law. Since the evidence submitted was acquired from a recorded conversation through the appellant's phone who has the right to record the conversations in question without prior approval from the concerned authority. This is ultimately due to the fact that phone calls that constitute an infringement, or crime, or an instigation to commit a crime, do not fall under the scope of protection of the right to privacy, which is guaranteed in the constitution.
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