Privacy & CCTV Systems

Privacy & CCTV Systems

Below is an extract from the Australian law Reform Commission website, discussing the implications of Privacy Law infringement and the Use of Security Cameras.

FRANKsecure recommend care is taken when installing Security Camera Systems to ensure management plans are put in place to protect the owner of the system from possible prosecution.

We suggest to clients to use Security Camera System with good intent, and advertise the use of cameras in areas of public use to help reduce the implication of  ill-use.

Legislation exists in each of the states and territories that variously restricts the use of listening, optical, data and tracking surveillance devices. These surveillance device laws provide criminal offences for using a surveillance device to record or monitor private conversations or activities, for tracking a person or for monitoring information on a computer system. The surveillance device laws also place restrictions on communicating information obtained through the use of a surveillance device.

The surveillance device laws of each state and territory differ greatly, both in terms of the types of surveillance devices they regulate, and the circumstances in which those surveillance devices may or may not be used. For example, the laws of Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory permit a participant to record a private activity in the absence of the consent of other parties, while the remaining surveillance device laws do not.

Different state and territory workplace surveillance legislation prohibits employers monitoring their employees at work through covert surveillance methods such as the use of CCTV cameras or computer, internet and email surveillance. Once again there are inconsistencies between these laws, and such laws only exist in three jurisdictions (the ACT, NSW and Victoria).

Criminal laws in some—but not all—jurisdictions provide for offences relating to photography being used for indecent purposes or indecent filming without consent. Criminal laws also provide protection against indecent photography of children in private and public places. In each case, the laws are restricted to specific subject matter, for example, matter of a sexual nature; filming for specific purposes, for example, for sexual gratification; or filming of a particular type of person, for example, a child. These laws therefore provide limited general privacy protection.

The operation of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) is restricted to the actions of government agencies and big business, not the activities of individuals acting in a personal capacity such as freelance or amateur photographers. However the Act does regulate the activities of individuals, agencies and companies which ‘disclose personal information about another individual to anyone else for a benefit, service or advantage’. This may provide scope to regulate the actions of photographers who take unauthorised photographs of individuals.