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Any Phone Apps that Can Surreptitiously Record?

  1. Jul 19, 2017 #1
    I'm wondering if anyone has come across a phone app that can record video and/or audio without going into a "record screen," whereby it's easy for someone in view of the phone's screen to know you're recording them.

    No, I'm not stalker or anything like that in case you're wondering. :-p It's something that would be useful for my part-time job. Thanks!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2017 #2


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    Software like Where's My Droid can do this but it has to be your phone and that option is part of stuff that costs money.
  4. Jul 19, 2017 #3
  5. Jul 19, 2017 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    What is your part-time job?
  6. Jul 19, 2017 #5


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    Notability has a record feature that you can use while taking notes. It will each note to a spot on the recording so when you tap on a note it jumps to the corresponding recording spot.
  7. Jul 20, 2017 #6
    Never heard of NOtability, jedishrfu, but shall look it up. Thx for the rec.

    I do secret shopping and big box store audits. You can always buy a hidden cam, but I don't need it that much to make it worthwhile. I use human memory to "record" stuff, but occasionally it gets hard, due to the number of things happening at once. If a phone has a free app, then that makes it easier.
    Never heard of this one either, berkeman, but thx for the rec. and gonna look it up too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2017
  8. Jul 20, 2017 #7
    You could just write an app yourself to do this.
    There are several questions on stackoverflow where you could copy the code from
    e.g. this or this
  9. Jul 21, 2017 #8
    The Secret Voice Recorder app works nicely on my stock Samsung Galaxy by pressing the power button three times, even with it locked and encrypted.

  10. Jul 22, 2017 #9
    I was a newspaper reporter, and found tape recording invaluable for long interviews. However I never did any "undercover" work where I would have wanted to tape-record secretly. You haven't given details of your work, and maybe expectations of privacy don't apply in your case; but I'll go into this issue briefly for the sake of anyone who's curious:

    Some states have fairly loose "one-party consent" laws that make it okay for just one party to a conversation to make a surreptitious recording, whether audio or video. However other states, e.g. California, have stricter "two-party consent" laws that would make surreptitious recording of that sort possibly illegal; here for example is an article on the California law: http://www.bc-llp.com/illegally-recording-conversation/

    So if anyone reading this thread is contemplating secret recording of other persons' conversations, I'd advise checking the law in your state first. Even if you don't intend to invade privacy (i.e. you want the information for a more general purpose such as data collection), getting caught could be unpleasant for everyone involved.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  11. Jul 22, 2017 #10
    1,000% agree. Make sure you check your state laws!

    I can record secretly in my state (as long as I'm one of the parties IN that conversation). Also, our clients request it sometimes. The reason I can't give you too many details of my work is because it would violate my ICAs that are standard in the industry. Other than saying you do hidden audits and conduct secret shopping, most company's contracts forbid revealing their inner workings, client lists, what you see, etc. So, if my mom wanted to know what I did over the weekend, even I couldn't tell her beyond very general details. :-p

    But, basically, I would want to be able to record what was said over the course of an "interaction" with multiple people I encountered while evaluating a business.
  12. Jul 24, 2017 #11


    Staff: Mentor

    I have an Android app called Alabi designed to do exactly what you asked. It can record audio and/or video and/or still images. It time stamps the records, and stores them locally on your phone.

    But it will not record your phone conversations, because that runs afoul of different laws.
  13. Jul 24, 2017 #12
    Does this app allow you to turn it on without opening/unlocking the screen?
  14. Jul 24, 2017 #13


    Staff: Mentor

    No, but you can turn the screen off while it continues recording.
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