Will the Librem 5 be able to record calls and save them to storage?

This would be a very handy feature to have since it can save people from messy legal problems and from forgetting what was said in important phone conversations.


i’d love to see a video on this ! good call ! i don’t think anyone has asked this before here on the Purism forums.

related > Anti-Spam app for Librem 5?

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Check this out. might be close to what you want

Technically, this should be no problem at all. To do it manually, all needed software might be available day one (just some audio recorder), but to automate it, somebody would have to work on that.

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At least in Germany you are not allowed to record a phone call without the ACK of the other party.

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“Alexa, did you know that?”
"Well, just leave the room when you’re in a call, stupid! "


I do no have and will never have any Alexa or any “smart” home device (TV, fridge, …). Not even from Mycroft.


Me neither. Just found it… “interesting” that this is constantly happening.


I don’t see how the legal requirements of different jurisdictions impacts available OPTIONS. I mean if the phone can record calls that you’re not legally allowed to record don’t tell the phone to record those calls.

This is independent of the arguments around recordings for personal/internal use generally being exempted from these types of restrictions.

Personally I would find this option useful even though I live in a place where recordings are illegal without ALL parties providing explicit consent.


It should not. Calling while driving is illegal but just because we can use the call function in an illegal way does not mean that the Librem 5 should not be able to do calls. I think the same goes for recording. Like calling it can be used illegally but that is no reason for the phone to not be able to do it, especially since in many countries recording is a very handy feature when used legally.


A device like the L5 which is meant to respect, among other things, the privacy of communication should not implement such “features” for ethical reasons, even if some people may find this useful for whatever reasons.

Btw: I never thought such people among the future users of the L5.

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So if I understand correctly, the logic is that the phone should not be able to record audio because that could be used to infringe on someone’s privacy?

This is a legitimately tough thing as recordings of fully consenting people, say someone who is in poor health/elderly recording their final conversations with family, would be a treasured thing for that family. As such I wouldn’t want to prevent this from existing.

If the complaint is only the automation of this functionality, I respectfully disagree as not providing automation of functionality does not impact how privacy respecting the underlying feature is or isn’t.

I’m all for the conversation and thought experiments and in no way mean for this to be disrespectful, I may not agree with you at this point but that doesn’t mean I’m closed to change.


Conversely, the users of this device (tinkerers) are the ones who are most likely to riot about having features arbitrarily restricted from them.

Recording calls is not necessarily for personal conversations. If, for example, you’re phoning up your ISP to try and change your package, you may well want a record of what they said in case they go back on their word (something which I am led to believe is almost universal in the US, where the large ISPs in a mass orgy of blatant corruption have essentially bought the organisation which is supposed to regulate them).

Additionally, a lot of organisations say “this call may be recorded” - so why not do the same on your end?


So then you are also against the camera because it can be used to record people as well? The camera is even worse: It records video in addition to audio and on top of that it can be used to record people who think they are in complete privacy.

I bought the phone so I IMO it should empower me, not police me. I use my own morality to act ethically. So I do not need my phone to police me nor do I want it to. I have a need for recordings for ethical reasons.

You never thought that freedom loving people who do not want their phone to police them would be among the future users of a phone which is apparently named after freedom?


I intentionally didn’t bring up the camera due to the automation portion of this thread, I think a more reasonable comparison would be software that automatically starts recording video with audio on an event trigger than just the recordings in general; provided this is in fact the primary complaint.

This does not mean I agree with software with that functionality not being included but I can totally see where that could be a privacy concern. I don’t think most people would have a privacy objection to the cameras taking a short video and uploading it to nextcloud on “impact” as determined by the sensors. I do see more people having a privacy concern with the same automatic start of video with audio recording being triggered by the the camera sensor identifying a skirt.

I also don’t think that not including software features by default is the same as policing, and if it is, Purism is already policing in this way by not providing non-free software.

Again, for me this is an interesting thought experiment and while I don’t agree that the automatic call recording shouldn’t be included, I am less comfortable with automatic video recording triggered by the image sensor. And yes I do see the potential hypocrisy in that thought statement, though I don’t personally think it’s hypocritical at all.

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The examples with the cam have nothing to do with the problem we are talking about: A private audio conversation can of course be recorded in secret, i.e. without that I know this, by a 3rd person (like NSA, CIA, BND, … do), What you now want as feature that the other partner of the private communication can do the same without that I’m aware of. And this shouldn’t be supported by the L5.

If the sole complaint is that 1 party of a 2 party conversation could break the trust and record the conversation discreetly, this is not a technology problem nor a problem to be solved by technology.

Like I said in my first response, there are legitimate reasons for the parties involved to record a conversation consentually. And as has been pointed out, not including something because it could be miss-used is a missguided approach (in my, and others, opinion).

Also, not including this functionality in the Librem 5 in no way impacts the ability of the other party to record the conversation.


What automation portion of the thread are you referring to?

I would be very content with a button that turns recording on and off the same way that most phones have a button that turns hands-free on and off during the call. Automation is definitely not a requirement for me.
Though I would not mind having an opt-in feature to turn on automatically recording and saving to local disk every call, I do not need it since I would delete most of them anyway.
Either way I definitely think that recording should be disabled by default.

It is policing if they do not include the feature in order to police us. guru does not give technical reasons, his reason seems to be that we could use the feature unethically and thus we should not be trusted with it. That is policing.

The lack of non-free software is not policing since they do it to serve us, not restrict us. In fact the omission of non-free software makes us less policed. Non-free software polices the user by restricting them in the learning from and making changes to the code. This restriction is arbitrary. So that would be policing. By including only free software Purism spares us from that kind of policing. So the point of not including non-free software is to avoid policing us.

I can record private meetings with the camera without anyone being aware of it. So what is the difference between recording a private call and recording a private meeting?


I took the context of “automatically” in the title as meaning in an automated way. At the time of my earlier reply I did not realize you were the OP which means the context I was operating in was flawed, my mistake.

I respect your opinion on the policing topic, and respectfully disagree.

It sounds like you’re saying it’s ok to keep out non-free software because we are being protected from ourselves using software we don’t have access to audit. Plenty of us don’t have the skillset which means we’re still trusting someone elses software. Yet it is not ok to protect us from ourselves using in ways we shouldn’t.

I counter that it’s ok to police their repository in a way that enforces their goals and guidelines, and it is ok to call that enforcement policing.

Ultimately I think we are on the same side just viewing this circumstance through different lenses.

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Ofc, you can. The difference to recording an audio phone call is: you must prepare this spy action in advance and there is a least a chance that your partner discover this (or do not want to meet you in a place defined and prepared by you), while hidden recording of an audio call only needs a buttonpress and the other can never detect this.

In short (and my last word in this thread): I do not want and do not need such a feature. Point.