Oct 30, 2017

Rules for Monitoring and Surveillance in Australia

We are all subject to surveillance and monitoring at one time or another. Some of this is within the law, while the balance represents an intrusion of our privacy to a greater or lesser extent. If you suspect somebody is shadowing you, you may find these rules for monitoring and surveillance in Australia useful. We only provide a summary here. You will find the details on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website


The Rules for Monitoring and Surveillance in Australia

The commonwealth, and its various states and territories have put together laws to limit the use of data, listening, optical, and tracking surveillance tools. At the heart of this lies a principle that citizens may not access personal information without the other party’s permission, or at least passive agreement.  

While the details vary by area, the Privacy Act of 1988 requires any enterprise to mention if they are recording a conversation at the beginning of a call. They often do this to secure both parties’ interests, and improve their service. Phone companies may monitor the quality of their network without informing customers subject to  certain rules.

Employer Monitoring of Employees at Work

The law and decisions of tf Employees at Workhe courts have determined that employers may monitor employee activities within ‘reasonable’ bounds. Thus observing their internet access and email may be legal under the rules for monitoring and surveillance in Australia. Again, the details vary between the various states and territories. Your Attorney General should be able to help you with local details.

Customer Surveillance by Businesses
Businesses must inform their customers if there are CCTV cameras operating on entering the premises. As is the case with employee monitoring, there are laws to manage handling of personal information acquired through monitoring and surveillance. This data must be securely stored, and de-identified or destroyed when its usefulness in over.

Private Neighbourhood Surveillance Cameras

A property occupier or owner intrudes on their neighbour’s privacy when they point a camera into their exclusive area. Pretty much the same applies to drones, although this is more difficult to prove in court. Your first response should be to talk to the neighbour or the owner of the drone, if you know them.


If this does not work for you, ask your neighbourhood mediation centre or local community justice for advice. The police are unlikely to intervene unless they regard the incident as a serious criminal act. This information concerning the rules for monitoring and surveillance in Australia comes with the compliments of QLD Covert Investigations. Contact us on 1300 553 788 for advice or if you have queries about this article.

https://www.qldcovertpi.com.au/private-investigations/surveillance

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