A review of the ACT’s privacy and surveillance laws

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SHANE Rattenbury has announced a review of the use and conduct of civil surveillance in the ACT.

“It is important to recognise that there are occasions when surveillance will be justifiable, however at all times there must be safeguards that prevent intimidation and other improper use,” Shane said.

“Recent media reports in other jurisdictions highlight the need for consistent and systemic regulation of surveillance that is undertaken for the purposes of civil litigation.

“While devices like smartphones, fitness trackers and drones are exciting developments in technology, they can also have significant implications for privacy if improperly used for surveillance. Our laws need to keep pace with their capabilities and other emerging devices to ensure individual privacy is not undermined.

“The review’s terms of reference will consider issues such as:

  • use of surveillance in civil litigation claims;
  • regulation of surveillance businesses;
  • emerging surveillance technology and practices, such as geo-tagging;
  • possible expansion of the existing Listening Devices Act 1992 to capture video surveillance and electronic monitoring;
  • the possible need for a tort of breach of privacy; and
  • links between current regulation of civil surveillance and the Information Privacy Act 2014.

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate will engage an independent reviewer to undertake the work and the Government expects to develop legislation to implement the outcomes. The process will include the opportunity for community input.

The commencement of recent amendments to the Workplace Privacy Act 2011 allowing surveillance of a worker outside the workplace will be put on hold pending the outcomes of the review.

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