Australian Law/Surveillance Devices Acts
Each State and territory has a Surveillance Devices Act (not necessarily known by that name), as does the Commonwealth.
The term 'surveillance devices' in the short titles of the Acts refers to devices which can observe (or enhance a person's ability to observe) or record private activities, including but not limited to conversations.
The regulation of surveillance devices does not fall within the Commonwealth legislative power. Instead, the regulation of the use of such devices is at the State/territory level. The function of the Commonwealth Surveillance Devices Act is to permit Commonwealth law enforcement officers to exercise special privileges, such as access to surveillance device warrants, without breaching the State/territory Acts.
Concepts and common features
Prohibition on use of devices for observing or recording
Prohibition on disclosure of recordings
Warrants permitting use of surveillance devices
Surveillance device warrants authorise:
- the use of surveillance devices (which would otherwise be an offence under the same Act); and
- the entering of premises to install or retrieve the device (which would be trespass)
Other special privileges of law enforcement officers
|ACT||Listening Devices Act 1992 (ACT)|
|NSW||Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW)|
|NT||Surveillance Devices Act (NT)|
|QLD||Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld)|
|SA||Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA)|
|TAS||Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas)|
|VIC||Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)|
|WA||Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA)|
|Cth||Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (Cth)|
*Work in progress*
Conversation can be recorded with one party's consent Conversation can only be recorded with all parties' consent
Surveillance device warrant is issued by ...
ALRC, 'Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era (DP 80)', 'Surveillance laws and laws affecting photography' https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/3-overview-current-law/surveillance-laws-and-laws-affecting-photography