Has your privacy been breached?

Privacy is a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people and is a sacred right that should be protected to live a life of peace and enjoyment. 

The iPhone and Internet era has made privacy nigh impossible, with more and more people recording audio conversations, taking and sharing photos online and filming activities without an individual’s knowledge or consent. The line of what is legal or illegal is becoming blurred and actions of this kind can be stressful, uncomfortable and often damaging to a child or adult’s reputation.

Is someone allowed to record my spoken conversations?

Generally, if the person making the recording is involved in a conversation with you, they are permitted to record you without your consent or knowledge. However, if you are not part of the conversation and someone has made a recording about you, then it is an offence by law. 

There are various restrictions on how an audio recording may be published and communicated. If you feel your rights have been violated, you may wish to seek legal advice to ascertain whether your privacy has been breached and what actions you can take to protect or prevent the publication or communication of your activities.

Can someone video record me without my consent?

Surveillance cameras are a dime a dozen these days as we seek better protection of our workplace and properties from theft and other security issues. However, can you video record people in the workplace or on your property and if so, are your cameras compliant under Australian law?

Under the Criminal Code, it is an offence to video record people without their consent in places where they would expect to be private, such as a bedroom, bathroom or changeroom. If you are recording in other areas, it is vital that your camera is not considered a nuisance. Body Corporates, in particular, must ensure that the placement of cameras in common and private property areas are strictly compliant with the Code and have the authorisation of its members. 

As for security cameras in the office, this can often be a minefield.  If employees are not made aware of their existence or camera angles do not adhere to the Criminal Code, you may have breached Australian privacy laws. Furthermore, if cameras contain an audio device, a breach of privacy is likely to have occurred if conversations have been taped without the owner of the business being present.

If the installation of a camera or audio device breaches the Criminal Code, owners and occupiers may be prosecuted with some offences attracting a 2 year jail sentence. Given the stiff penalties for invading one’s privacy and the blurry lines of what this entails, it is important for offices and property owners to ensure they understand the legalities that surround office and property audio and camera surveillance. 

If you feel your privacy have been violated by being recorded or filmed or you want to ensure your property or business complies with Australian privacy laws, contact our friendly lawyer, Rebekah O’Sullivan, to seek legal advice. It is important to know your rights to safeguard your privacy at all costs.