Security cameras

Last updated: 23 July 2019

On this page

  • Which laws cover a surveillance device, including a residential security camera
  • Where to get help with a dispute

An organisation or agency that uses a surveillance device, such as a security camera or CCTV, generally must follow several laws.

If the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) covers the organisation or agency, then any personal information they collect through a surveillance device must comply with the Australian Privacy Principles. The Privacy Act covers Australian Government agencies and organisations with an annual turnover of more than $3 million, and some other organisations. Such an organisation or agency must:

  • tell you that your image may be captured before you’re recorded
  • make sure recorded personal information is secure and destroyed or de-identified when it is no longer needed

State and territory surveillance and monitoring laws also cover surveillance devices. For more information, contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory.

Residential security cameras

If your neighbour has a security camera pointed at your house and you’re worried about your privacy, first try to talk to your neighbour. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you could ask your local community justice or neighbourhood mediation centre for help (see the table below).

The Privacy Act doesn’t cover a security camera operated by an individual acting in a private capacity but state or territory laws may apply. For more information, contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory. However, if you’re concerned about your safety, contact the police.

You could also contact your local council to find out if the practice contravenes any local laws. Some councils require planning permission for security cameras.

If your property is part of a strata title, check the by-laws to see if they cover installing or using security cameras.

Help handling a dispute

If you live in

Contact

Australian Capital Territory

Conflict Resolution Service
Phone: 02 6162 4050

New South Wales

Community Justice Centres
Attorney-General’s Department
Phone: 1800 990 777

Northern Territory

Community Justice Centre
Department of Justice
Phone: 1800 000 473

Queensland

Dispute Resolution Branch
Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Phone: 07 3239 6007

South Australia

Uniting Communities Mediation Service
Phone: 08 8342 1800

Tasmania

Department of Justice
Phone: 03 6173 0210

Victoria

Dispute Settlement Centre
Department of Justice
Phone: 1800 658 528

Western Australia

Legal Aid Western Australia
Phone: 1300 650 579

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