Photos and videos of you are treated as personal information under the Privacy Act 1988 if your identity is clear or could reasonably be worked out. Your privacy rights for photos and videos will depend on the situation.
Taken without permission
If the photo or video was taken by someone acting in a personal capacity, the Privacy Act doesn’t apply — because it doesn’t cover individuals.
In some situations, there may be state or territory laws that prevent someone photographing your private activities without your consent. Contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory for more information or the police if you are concerned for your safety.
Posted online without permission
First, ask the person who posted the photo or video online to take it down. If they refuse, or you don’t know who it is, contact the site’s administrator and ask them to remove the photo or video.
If they don’t respond to your complaint, or you’re not satisfied with their response, you can lodge a complaint with us if the photo or video posted online is hosted by an organisation or agency covered by the Privacy Act.
The Privacy Act covers organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million that operate in Australia, and some other organisations. A number of factors go into deciding if an organisation operates in Australia, including if they have a presence in Australia or carry on a business in Australia.
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides guidance on action you can take if a person has posted or threatened to post an intimate image of you on a website or social media service without your permission. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner also provides guidance on how to combat cyberbullying of children and adult cyber abuse.
Images on Google Street View
Google Street View images are only taken from publicly accessible places, but identifiable faces and number plates should be blurred.
To report an image you are concerned about, view the image on Google Street View and click on the Report a Problem function at the bottom right corner of the image.
You can also contact Google Street View if you are concerned about a privacy breach on their website.
Images in the media
The Privacy Act doesn’t apply to a media organisation carrying out its work of journalism. A media organisation that has publicly committed to observing published, written privacy standards, may collect, prepare and distribute news, current affairs, information or documentaries.
If you have a complaint about how an Australian newspaper, magazine or any of their associated digital outlets has used a photo or video of you, contact the Australian Press Council.
If you have a complaint about how a radio or television broadcaster has used a photo or video of you, contact the Australian Communications and Media Authority.