CCTV - Compliance for Council

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Published by Preston Law on 04/03/2020

The use of Close Circuit Television (CCTV) has grown exponentially in areas such as malls, car parks and shopping centres in the last few years. The use of CCTV footage can assist law enforcement agencies with crime prevention or identifying offenders however government agencies and Council are now frequently installing CCTV to monitor infrastructure and public spaces.

Questions often arise surrounding the installation and monitoring of CCTV facilities. Whilst there are some legislative constraints, government agencies can install CCTV facilities and use CCTV footage, provided that:

  • the use of the footage is consistent with the Information Privacy Act 2009 (“IPA”); and
  • the footage is kept in accordance with the Public Records Act 2002 (“PRA”).

How can you Use and Access CCTV footage?

Agencies must only use CCTV footage for lawful purposes. This could include monitoring the use of agency-owned and operated facilities, or monitoring compliance with Council local laws. For example, a Council could collect data to determine how many occupants stay at a caravan park or use a public pool.

The Information Privacy Principles (“IPP“)  however place strict obligations on agencies and specifies how footage can be collected, stored, used and disclosed.

For example, IPP 9, allows agencies to use CCTV footage only for the purposes relevant to its collection without the permission of the person shown in the footage.

It is important to note however that IPPs 10 and 11 allows agencies to use and disclose CCTV footage for other purposes without the permission of the person shown in the footage in certain circumstances, including:

  • in circumstances relating to serious threats to the life, health, safety or welfare of an individual, or to public health, safety or welfare;
  • in circumstances related to law enforcement purposes;
  • in restricted circumstances related to research, but only if the information does not identify individuals.

Can You monitor employee conduct with CCTV Facilities?

Agencies must, therefore, act with caution when monitoring employees with CCTV facilities. An agency must demonstrate that the use of the facilities are for lawful purposes. For example, the use of CCTV footage and the collection of data would be lawful if it is used to ensure compliance with Workplace Health and Safety requirements as well as policies (i.e. Code of Conduct) and system improvement.

In some circumstances, CCTV footage may be used as evidence of misconduct or breach of contract by an employee however we recommend a CCTV Policy be implemented to specify this usage and agencies must ensure that employees are aware of the collection of data.

Requirements to retain CCTV footage

CCTV footage obtained by government agencies is considered a “public record” under the PRA. An agency must ensure that the CCTV footage is kept in accordance with the requirements of the PRA and that an agency keeps the public records for the requisite timeframes before they can be lawfully destroyed. 

Can you Outsource CCTV monitoring?

Some agencies may choose to outsource CCTV monitoring to security agencies. This service provider is not automatically bound by the obligations under the IPA and PRA, because they apply only to “agencies” (such as Council and the State Government). If you are outsourcing these services, it is essential that these providers are aware of the obligations placed on agencies and that the agreement with the service provider binds the service provider to the IPPs and the IPA. 

If you would like further information regarding your agencies obligations around CCTV facilities, please contact us today.

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