CVG AI BULLETIN Legal Status Of Audio Recordings - Part Two

CVG Hukuk


CVG Law Firm offers a full range of legal and compliance services to international and local clients. CVG is a boutique law firm, mainly specialized in compliance and litigation and our aim is to become one of the leading firms in Istanbul in technology, media and telecommunications law by extending our expertise in those areas.
The second part of the report is a legal assessment, with a focus on administrative and judicial issues, rather than on the relationship between the parties...
Turkey Privacy
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1. Introduction

The second part of the report is a legal assessment, with a focus on administrative and judicial issues, rather than on the relationship between the parties as it is the case in civil law. We have chosen to summarize our assessments under these two headings in the second section, given the Personal Data Protection Authority's right to investigate at any time under the Personal Data Protection Act and the potential criminal implications under the Turkish Penal Code.

2. Audio Recording in terms of Personal Data Protection Law

Audio recordings may indeed contain personal data, depending on the type of information that is recorded. In addition, the voice of an individual is itself considered to be personal data under Law No. 6698 on the Protection of Personal Data ("LPPD / Law"). The protection of such recordings under the Law on the Protection of Personal Data is required in various scenarios, such as the recording of interpersonal communications, meetings, events, and the use of cameras equipped with audio recording functions in addition to video recording, especially in the workplace.

A wide variety of data sources may provide the audio recordings used in artificial intelligence tools. It is important to consider the purposes of processing and the general principles set out in Articles 4, 5 and 6 on data processing activities when considering voice recordings in the context of artificial intelligence systems. According to the LPPD, individuals whose voices are going to be processed need to be clearly informed of the reasons for processing. They should be told what the data will be used for, who the data will be sent to and what their rights are.

For data processing operations involving some voice records, depending on the nature of the work to be carried out, the reason for data processing may also be based on "explicit consent", which is one of the grounds specified in the law. In this case, the data subject's explicit consent must be "specific", "informed" and "freely given". However, the issue of revocability of explicit consent, which is also defined in the law, comes to the fore here. For example, if the voice recording is processed in reliance on the condition of explicit consent, if the data subject withdraws his or her explicit consent, the controller has no condition for processing and the processing is unlawful. At this stage, there will be a breach with respect to the artificial intelligence provider due to the failure to implement data security measures in accordance with Article 18/1. b of the LPPD. Similarly, the failure to inform the data subjects will constitute another breach in terms of Article 18.1/a.

In addition, the processing activity must be carried out in accordance with the principles set forth in Article 4 of the Law. Otherwise, it will again be possible to speak of an infringement.

3. Audio Recording from the Perspective of Criminal Law

Audio recordings play an important role in criminal law because they can be used as evidence and can result in different crimes. Criminal trials are governed by the principle of 'freedom of evidence', which means that any object or information is admissible as evidence. However, evidence must be obtained lawfully to prove the guilt of a suspect or defendant.

Criminal law provides for certain conditions under which illegally obtained evidence may be accepted as lawful, similar to exceptions in private law. However, the specific circumstances of each case will determine the assessment of this issue in criminal law.

Unauthorized and/or secret audio recording can potentially result in various crimes under the Turkish Penal Code no. 5237. The following is a summary of these offences.

3.1. Violation of Confidentiality of Communication

Persons who disclose the confidentiality of communications between persons are punishable under Article 132 of the TPC. The person recorded must at least be identifiable. It does not matter whether some or all the content of the communication is disclosed; disclosure of any part is a crime.

3.2. Interception and Recording of Conversations between Persons

The recording of non-public conversations between individuals without their consent is an offence under Article 133 of the TPC. The severity of the punishment ranges from six months to five years' imprisonment, depending on the nature of the incident. The fact that the communicating parties exchange information on a voluntary basis does not mean that they consent to the disclosure of such information to third parties. The parties will continue to believe that what they communicate with each other will remain confidential.

3.3. Violation of Privacy of Private Life

The disclosure of audio and video recordings relating to the private life of individuals is regulated by Article 134/2 of the TPC. The criminalization of audio recordings falls within the scope of the protection of private life. Moreover, a crime is defined for those who violate this confidentiality by making audio recordings.

3.4. Illegal Recording of Personal Data

Article 135 of the TPC states that audio recordings may constitute a crime if they contain personal data. The recording of data relating to a person's political, philosophical, or religious opinions, racial origin, moral tendencies, sexual life, state of health and trade union membership - i.e. personal data of a special nature - is considered an aggravating circumstance.

For the offence of collecting personal data to be committed, it is not necessary for the data to be used and for a benefit to be obtained. Furthermore, it is not necessary that the person whose personal data is collected be harmed.

3.5. Illegally Giving or Obtaining Data

Article 136 of the TPC addresses the unlawful giving or obtaining of personal data as a separate offense.


Within the context of the information explained above, there are many issues that need to be considered when using voice recordings. Therefore, it is necessary to use AI databases by observing these principles. Failing to do so makes it possible for AI providers to face many complaints from voice owners, trademark owners, and recording companies.

There have already been a few cases in the United States where recordings have been used illegally for artificial intelligence training. Many of the examples described above involve patterns of use that may constitute infringement. For this reason, a detailed legal analysis should be carried out before a recording is used. A "suitability test" should be carried out and the recording should be used in accordance with the results of this test. In the light of the information, we have summarized here, the use of audio recordings in artificial intelligence training would be appropriate after detailed analysis.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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