Security camera laws for Australian businesses

Security camera laws for Australian businesses

What are the laws for having security cameras in the workplace?

In Australia, the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) apply to businesses that are monitoring the activity of employee’s (by way of stored video footage).

Let’s look at the key areas of the APP.

Disclosure

The APP laws require businesses to notify employees (before they are recorded) that their image may be captured by CCTV. This can be explained in an employment agreement or a staff handbook.

For visitors to a business, a prominent sign at the entry of the building that notifies visitors of camera monitoring is sufficient. This sign should also state who the cameras are monitored by.

Prohibited areas

There are certain areas of a business that are prohibited from monitoring. These include areas where privacy should be respected such as a change room or toilet. This may also include a staff member’s personal office or work cubicle.

In addition, cameras must not intrude on any private property adjacent to the business.

Data security

Businesses have an obligation to ensure any footage captured is stored securely. When the footage is no longer required it must be destroyed or de-identified.

If the camera footage is managed by a security company, it’s the business’ responsibility to ensure that the security company properly secures the data.

If data is stored in the cloud then security measures such as two-factor authentication and encrypting data are recommended. For data stored locally, control rooms or data storage areas must be secure.

If data is stored overseas, certain security measures must be met under the APPs.

Keep in mind that footage must be disclosed to law enforcement agencies when authorised by subpoena or otherwise required by law.

Summary

It’s ok for businesses to monitor their employee’s activities if they abide by certain rules under the APP. This includes:

  • Businesses must notify staff if they are being recorded by way of stored video footage. This can be explained in an employment agreement or staff handbook.
  • Businesses must display a sign at the entrance notifying visitors of security cameras and who is monitoring the cameras.
  • Businesses are prohibited from monitoring certain locations such as change rooms or toilets.
  • Business cameras must not intrude on neighbouring properties.
  • Businesses have an obligation to destroy footage once it is no longer required.
  • Security measures should be followed for data hosted in the cloud and on-site control rooms kept secure.
  • Footage must be disclosed to law enforcement agencies that have authority to collect evidence.

There may be additional state laws so we suggest doing your own research to ensure you’re covered for the use of security cameras in your business.

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