Home » Think of installing a home security system? Here’s what you need to consider.

Written by: Braden Milburn, Criminal Law Solicitor

Surveillance devices include technologies or devices that are developed specifically for surveillance purposes and those that are capable of being used for surveillance. These include listening and audio, optical or visual, tracking or location, and biometric surveillance.

The Queensland Criminal Code

Are you aware that before installing surveillance cameras in your home, it is important to ensure that it is permissible under Queensland laws?

Engaging in video recording of individuals without their consent in areas where privacy is expected, such as bedrooms or bathrooms, is considered a criminal offence under Section 227A of the Criminal Code.

When setting up a surveillance camera, it is crucial to carefully consider its placement to avoid any interference with individuals in neighbouring properties, particularly those with young children or swimming pools.

Body Corporates

If your property is part of a body corporate, it is essential to ensure that the installation of exterior cameras aligns with the obligations set forth by the body corporate’s and community management. Obtaining approval from the Body Corporate Committee may be necessary before installing surveillance cameras in external areas. Failure to comply with the regulations outlined in the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 can result in property owners being in violation, particularly if the use of surveillance cameras causes any disturbances or inconveniences to common property.

Audio recordings

In general, it is considered legal to record a spoken conversation if the person making the recording is actively participating in the conversation, and the consent or knowledge of the other parties involved is not necessary. However, it is important to be aware that there are specific laws governing the usage and handling of such recordings, as well as restrictions on recording conversations in which you are not a participant. Read more about the legal considerations of recorded conversations in our article here.

Invasion of Privacy Act

The Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld) (IoP Act) establishes an offence regarding the audio recording of private conversations in which you are not a participant. Being considered part of a conversation typically involves engaging in face-to-face or phone discussions or being actively involved in a group discussion.

 

If you are personally involved in the conversation, the IoP Act permits you to make an audio recording, but there are certain limitations on its usage. For instance, the act prohibits the communication or publication of the recording, except in specific circumstances. These exceptions include:

Sharing the recording with another person who was part of the conversation.

  • Publishing or communicating the recording to an extent that is reasonably necessary for the public interest.
  • Publishing or communicating the recording to an extent that is reasonably necessary to protect the interests of the person who made the recording.
  • Using the recording during legal proceedings.

Some other important points to note from the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IPA) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

  • Notice: It is advisable to provide clear and visible notice that surveillance is in operation on your property. This can be done through signs indicating the presence of cameras or by other means that effectively inform individuals that their activities may be recorded.
  • Security and Storage: You are responsible for taking reasonable steps to protect the personal information collected through your surveillance system. This includes implementing appropriate security measures to prevent unauthorised access, use, or disclosure of the recorded data. Additionally, you should establish a retention period for the recorded data and ensure its secure disposal when no longer required.

If you have a desire to set up home surveillance, our professionals can provide guidance on the legal considerations prior to installation. In the event that you are involved in a disagreement concerning surveillance, our Criminal Law Solicitor can support you in achieving the most favourable resolution.

Contact us today.

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of a professional. This information does not consider your personal circumstances and may not reflect the most current legal developments. Should you need advice, please contact our firm for targeted information relating to personal your situation. 

Greenhalgh Pickard’s Criminal Law Team