Hunting, Fishing, Camping, or Something Else? Nowhere to Hide.

On a recent weekend we tracked a man up into the hills where he was supposedly camping, hunting and fishing with friends. Instead, the man stopped at a rural residence and picked up a female, then proceeded out into the state forest.

At his campsite by the creek in the bottom of a steep 4WD track, he and the woman appeared to enjoy themselves, fishing - and doing other things - while his wife was at home with his two children. 

Video and photographs, including night vision, were taken by our investigators who were dressed in camouflage and hidden nearby. The were able to get close enough to the campsite to overhear the two people's conversation. Thinking they were miles from the nearest person, they were quite open and frank in their discussion. 

There is nowhere to hide from our investigators. Their vehicle camouflaged and hidden some kilometres away, they walked in to the campsite and spent hours laying silently in the bush to get the evidence our client needed.



Ashley Madison Data

We've now finished our Ashley Madison* promotion, with some telling results. 

Of those who suspected their partners of being in the data and it checked, more than 1 in 4 were correct - their partner's information was found in Ashley Madison's database.

As we see time and time again, if you suspect your partner of cheating, you're probably right.

More than 80% of clients who come to us with this suspicion are not only right, but we can prove them right. We can provide the evidence and with it the peace of mind that only solid evidence can bring.  

If you suspect your partner of an affair, contact us today to find out more about how we can help. 

 

*Searches were conducted by a third party. We did we hold, possess, publish or link to the Ashley Madison data, which is freely available on the internet in a variety of places.

Data Retention and Private Investigators

What is Data Retention?

Under new legislation which seems likely to be passed very soon, information about your phone and computer use will be kept by telecommunications companies for two years. This information includes every website you visit, every phone number you dial, and every message you send. Using a 'private' or 'incognito' browsing mode will not prevent this information being collected.

Similar legislation has been struck down in Europe as too intrusive and a breach of privacy, however it seems the regulations will go ahead in Australia.  It is intended that data from this "system of passive, mass surveillance" will be available to government agencies without warrant.

Given that the legislation was amended to 'protect' journalists but provides no protection for the lawful but private activities of Private Investigators, we share some tips on how to protect yourself.  

How to protect yourself

Protecting yourself from this warrant-less digital surveillance is actually very simple. 

Email

First, using an overseas-based email provider, rather than the one provided by your ISP which comes with your internet connection. This will prevent data about who you email, and who emails you, being automatically available. 

A second level of security is to encrypt your email, however this relies on those you email also altering their behaviour. Exactly how to encrypt your email depends on which email provider or email software you use. 

VPN

A VPN (virtual private network) is a good tool to protect your privacy and security. It works by acting as a middleman - you connect to the VPN, and the VPN connects to the rest of the internet. Because your traffic to and from the VPN is encrypted, and the VPN does not retain or disclose its  data, where you go online and what you do remains private from the government's eyes. All they can see is that you are using a VPN. 

For added privacy for certain activities, consider the use of a TOR setup

A VPN is generally a subscription service at around $50 per year, however some also offer free use with some limitations. For price, function and ease of use, our recommendations include those listed below, but there are others which are just as good. Remember you should also consider setting up a VPN connection on your phone or mobile device.

Instant Messages

Rather than using SMS to convey short messages, use a messenger service like Google+ Hangouts (Google Talk GChat, Hangouts, or whatever they're renamed it by the time you read this), SnapChat, TextSecureor if you really must - iMessage. 

Phone Calls

Rather than dialling a number directly, consider an online VOIP provider such as Skype, Hangouts, ViberVoxer, or Redphone. For short voice messages, try Zello - we use this instead of 2-way-radios for some operations. 

Go Dark

Given how quick and easy it is to completely hide yourself from the proposed metadata collection,and that any criminal or terrorist with an average IQ or better will surely be hiding their data too, it does make us wonder why the government is spending time and money collecting it.

 

Object Tracking; Radio Direction Finding (RDF) using an aerial platform

We are currently involved in the testing of a new system for tracking objects/vehicles using radio signals. 

This system uses a combination of:

  1. fixed-position receivers to identify movement and direction;
  2. moving receivers on aerial platforms to record relative direction.

When the data is analysed, we are then able to plot the position of the tracked object, usually with enough accuracy to identify a street address. The accuracy depends on the terrain, the distance from the aerial platform and from the fixed receivers, and interference issues, leading to an accuracy range of 10-500m.

If an object remains still for a prolonged period, this allows errors to be averaged, transient interference issues to pass, and the aerial platform to gain access to a clearer LOS, allowing the accuracy to be improved. This 'homing in' process is performed post-hoc using the collected data.

There are a number of other elements to this process which we can't reveal publicly until the testing is complete, but it is looking very promising as a new tracking technology.  

Background:

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_direction_finder
  • http://www.denisowski.org/Articles/Denisowski%20-%20Comparison%20of%20Radio%20Direction-Finding%20Technologies.pdf

The Spy Within. Are you bugged? Listening devices and hidden cameras.

Lately we've had a number of de-bugging cases, with people who suspect their home, car or business is being monitored by listening devices or hidden cameras. For convenience, we'll use the common parlance; bugs. 

What kinds of bugs are there?

All kinds. And then some. 

A listening device can be anything from a box the size of a pack of cards, to something the size of the head of a pin - and that's just the range of commercial available devices, not the range available to government and police. How big is largely a question of how much the listener is willing to spend.

A transmitting device (one which is being watched or recorded live at a secondary location) is no larger than a recording one, but its battery will generally need to be larger. It also needs an antenna, however this may not be obviously visible. If the use of the device is only short-term, however, the larger battery may still only be quite small.

For example, in certain circumstances we use transmitting cameras which are around half the size of a AA battery and voice recorders half of that size.

A hidden camera does not need to be larger than a listening device, but its power usage, especially if it's a transmitting camera, is higher. This affects battery size, or duration of use before the battery needs replacement. It may also lead to the device being hard-wired. 

Location

Where a device will be is hard to say. Ideally, a bug is planted somewhere it's not likely to be, in order to make it harder to find. A professional will be aiming for this. If you have a bug hidden somewhere it is likely to be, odds are it was put there by an amateur. Having said that, are factors which make devices more likely to be in some places than others.

Cameras need to be able to see; a camera will need to be installed somewhere it has a line of sight at whatever it is that it's trying to see. In an office environment the best position for a camera is often the bird's eye, looking down on you. Take note of moved or scuffed ceiling panels, holes or marks in the ceiling, air vents or other dark places which have a view of you. Check light fittings, switches, power points and security sensors for signs of tampering.

In a high-noise environment, a listening device will need to be located closer to the target conversations. In a low-noise environment, a modern microphone placed anywhere in even a large room can be sufficient to make a good recording of even a whispered conversation.

Power Source

A recording listening device uses very little power. This means can easily run from a battery, which makes it possible to put it just about anywhere. Recording devices, especially those which only record when sound or motion is detected, can be hidden pretty much anywhere they fit.

A transmitting device (eg a camera) with a reasonable range uses quite a lot of power in comparison. If it's a long-term installation, this necessitates it being connected to a wired power source. This is most often the wire to a light, a switch or a power socket, which means detection of the device at these points is sometimes possible. Your ceiling, and under-floor-space are also often full of live wires which can be tapped to power a device.

Tracking Devices

If you notice someone is following you, but you can't work out how they keep finding you, they may be using a tracking device.  Such a device can be as small as a 20c coin or as large as a brick, depending on the purpose for which it was designed.

Devices used to help someone follow a vehicle range from GPS GSM devices which actively or periodically transmit their geographical location using the mobile phone network, through GPS units which record but to not transmit location, to 'beeper' radio beacon which transmit a simple audible (or inaudible) signal to a specialist receiver. It is also possible to use an entirely satellite-based device which does not need mobile-phone reception and works across most of the world. We use these devices primarily in remote-area surveillance and international asset tracking, including on yachts and international shipments.

For maximum efficiency, a GPS-enabled device needs a view of the sky, however many devices will provide adequate accuracy from a partially hidden location such as the under-side of a vehicle or the inside of a plastic bumper bar. 

Legality

In the majority of cases, if you have not consented to the use of the device, the installation or use of a listening device, hidden camera or tracking device will be unlawful.

It is our normal practice when sweeping for devices to stop once the first one is located and suggest that police be notified. This facilitates the preservation of the evidence of the crime. 

If a client does not wish to involve police when the device is found, we can continue sweeping for other devices, recording their locations, and taking photographs/video, and present this information as a report, declaration or affidavit, for your future use. In this circumstance, whether devices are removed or left in place is a tactical decision you will need to make.

Finding devices

At Privatei.com.au, among other things we use a wide-spectrum signal receiver and analyser to detect transmitting devices, a sensitive metal detector to find recording devices, and our good old fashioned eyes (sometimes via inspection cameras and reflecting-detectors) to find the rest. In some cases we also employ current-loss testing local narrow-band signal interference.

Who's listening?

If a device is transmitting, we can usually identify the approximate range it is likely to have, which may allow us to locate the receiver. This, however, is not always possible. An IP camera which is tapping into your home or work WiFi network may be impossible for us to trace, and a device with a strong transmission signal may create such a wide potential reception area that a search would be impossible.

The user of a recording device may sometimes be identified by us leaving it in place and covertly recording its collection. In many cases, even a transmitting system, if the installer is not aware it has been discovered, will be recovered at a later date and this may provide an opportunity to identify who has been watching.

When is a tracking device not a Tracking Device?

This is a follow up to our earlier post, Electronic (Including GPS) Tracking in Australia.

In Victoria, under the Surveillance Devices Act (Vic) a tracking device is an electronic device, the primary purpose of which is to determine the geographical location of a person or an object.

You can’t knowingly install, use or maintain a tracking device;

  • To locate a person without their consent
  • To locate an object without the consent of the person having (lawful) possession of that object.
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Secrets Revealed

What about a flashing light?

If your car had a flashing light on it, it would be much easier to follow it through traffic, to identify it when it stops somewhere, or to find it in a car park full of other cars (especially at night). 

If an investigator places a flashing light on your car, is that the use of a Tracking Device?

Breaking it Down

Let's look at the definition.

  1. An electronic device
  2. the primary purpose of which is
  3. to determine the geographical location
  4. of a person or an object

This is how lawyers break down the constituent elements of an offence for analysis. The element we are most interested in look at is the third; "to determine the geographical location".

Geographical Location

The 'location' of something is, simply put, where it located in space. If you're looking right at something, its location can be determined relative to your own, depending on where it lies in your field of view. The location of my computer is in front of me. The location of my dog is to my left. These are self-referential locations, but not geographical locations. 

A 'geographical location' is different. This language has been carefully used to carry reference to a location with reference to geography; that is, a location on the surface of the earth. It's not subject to self-reference (eg '10 metres in front of me') - it's a spatial coordinate, a given location in geographical space. 

Given that a flashing light is only going to help you find something if you are already looking at it, it cannot be said to be identifying a 'geographical location'. A flashing light may identify a 'location' in your field of view, but not 'geographical location', because the position in your field of view has no context on its own, and makes no reference to geography. 

Thus it fails this element of the offence, and a flashing light is not a Tracking Device in the State of Victoria.

If we were to place a flashing light on your car, or on an object, in order to make it easier to see, identify, or even track (follow), we would not be committing this offence, as we have not used a Tracking Device.

There are other things we use to help us follow people and objects which are not Tracking Devices either, but we have to keep a few secrets to ourselves, don't we?


If you have any comments or questions about this article, or you think we've got it wrong, please let us know! 

The Team at Privatei.com.au

P.S.
You're being tracked right now!



Radio telemetry tracking, triangulation from two known points using an excel spreadsheet.

Recently we’ve been involved in an asset tracking project for a client.

The assets were small enough that a GSM/GPS device was likely to be too large to be able to be hidden effectively, when the necessary battery for long-term unattended use was included. As a result, we installed small radio beacons, designed for the tracking of small animals.

To locate the tracking beacons, we use either a yagi antenna with a receiver, or a car-mounted radio-direction-finding set-up with a series of aerials mounted to a vehicle in a plane.

Tracking multiple objects over a prolonged period of time, we end up with a large amount of data in a “position, bearing” format, or more precisely, “easting, northing, bearing”.

I scoured the internet in vain looking for a spreadsheet which contained the formulas necessary to turn two position/bearings into a third position - namely the location of the tracked asset. The trigonometry is not especially difficult, but nowhere was a pre-configured excel spread sheet to be found!

Sitting down to build one, I feared it would be a difficult and time-consuming process (I’m not particularly mathematically inclined) but was pleasantly surprised to have it constructed and tested within the hour.

I expect it will be of assistance to other investigators, zoologists/ecologists etc who are tracking birds, mammals or other animals, people involved in vulnerable person tracking operations, and perhaps even to the amateur radio direction finding crowd.

I include it here, as an attachment, under a Creative Commons AU 3.0 licence.

To download the file, click HERE or right-click and choose save-as.

Issues with Background Checks - Working with Children

In most Australian States and Territories, there is a legal requirement for those working with children to undergo some form of background screening prior to employment, and in some cases for volunteering.

Offences exist in most jurisdictions, both for the employee attempting to or successfully working without the requisite check having been performed, and for the employer for engaging or continuing to engage someone without the appropriate clearance.

There is no recognition of the validity of checks conducted between any Australian jurisdictions, including where the checks are ostensibly the same.

Jurisdictions which purport to monitor those who hold approvals only monitor offences within their own jurisdiction, with interstate and Commonwealth offences only checked at the point of renewal, every 2-5 years.

This means that a person could hold a valid check, commit an offence against a child in another state, and continue to hold a valid check for up to 5 more years - a gaping hole in the process.

Where an employer is registered against an approved person in order that they may be notified if that approval is suspended or withdrawn, for various reasons, in most cases the employer cannot be certain that they remain registered and will in fact be notified that the approval is withdrawn.

Prohibition Notices can be issued by the Children’s Services Regulatory Authorities under the Education and Care Services National Law Act, but these are not reported to Working with Children Screening Authorities and are not available for screening purposes, even where the purpose for the Prohibition Notice is relevant to an approval being granted or remaining valid.

Education and Care Services National Law

The Education and Care Services National Law Act (“the Act”) grants power to the Regulatory Authority of each jurisdiction to issue a Prohibition Notice to a person it considers may cause an unacceptable risk of harm to a child at an Education and Care Service.

The reasons for the issue of a Prohibition Notice may or may not fall within the scope of the Working with Children Law of any given jurisdiction; however it is reasonable to assume that at least some Prohibition Notices will be for relevant reasons, based on the underlying purpose of these Notices.

A person subject to a Prohibition Notice must not carry out any activity relating to an Education and Care Service, and must not be engaged by an Approved Provider as a staff member.

Regulatory Authorities are authorised to disclose information related Prohibition Notices to any government department, public or local authority, to the National Authority and to other Regulatory Authorities.

Although Prohibition Notices have been issued by several Regulatory Authorities, there has been limited communication of this between the relevant Regulatory Authorities and other relevant parties.

There was, at the time of writing, no method for the communication of information related to Prohibition Notices to the bodies responsible for the administration of Working with Children Laws (“Working with Children Authorities”) in each jurisdiction.

There is no practical method for an employer to ensure they do not employ, or continue to employ, a person subject to a Prohibition Notice.

Commonwealth

There is no legal requirement to perform criminal history screening for those working with Children; however, at common law the duty of care owed to children in care may lead to the inference that some form of background checking is necessary.

In November 2008, COAG agreed to develop an inter-jurisdictional exchange of ‘expanded’ criminal history information for people working with children.

This agreement was implemented by means of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Commonwealth, States and Territories. The MOU establishes a ‘national exchange of criminal history information’ through which jurisdictions are to share expanded criminal history information held by jurisdictions’ police services.  This scheme is referred to as the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC).

This process facilitates a more comprehensive Working with Children National Criminal History Check in jurisdictions where this is undertaken.

Bodies approved to access this expanded information exist in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, but not in the ACT, Tasmania or South Australia.

Australia Capital Territory

New Working with Vulnerable People legislation came into effect in November 2012. This new system requires people working with vulnerable people, including children, to ‘register’ themselves with the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS), in the Department of Justice and Community Safety (ACT).

The process includes a Working with Children National Criminal History Check, and provides for ongoing monitoring of those registered. During the initial application for registration, an employer may be listed. This employer will be notified of the outcome of the application for registration.

Subsequently, no notification will be made to any employer if they are registered or deregistered as a person’s employer, and employer(s) will not be notified if a registration is suspended or withdrawn.

Ongoing monitoring of registered persons will be limited to actions within the jurisdiction, namely the ACT. Offences or other actions in NSW will have no effect on a person’s registration.

New South Wales     

Current process    

The Working with Children Check conducted by the Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) is a point-in-time check which includes no ongoing monitoring of criminal or other behaviour and cannot be repeated during a person’s period of employment.

Subsequent checking must be by a National Criminal History Check. Where this is undertaken, it is a point-in-time check, and includes no ongoing monitoring. The efficacy of National Criminal History Check is limited. Enquiries to CrimTrac by an individual (through their jurisdiction’s Police Service or a private provider) are limited to a class of check referred to as “Vulnerable Persons”. This is a lower standard of checking than that referred to as “Working with Children”, which can only be undertaken by recognised Working with Children Unit applying the Working with Children Law of that jurisdiction.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the CCYP. The ability for a Prohibition Notice to be taken into account as part of a Working with Children Check relies on self-disclosure by an applicant when consenting to a Working with Children Check. The consent form used for this purpose does not refer to Prohibition Notice under the Education and Care National Law Act, instead referring to Prohibition Notices under both the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 and the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998. Self-disclosure of Prohibition Notices under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are neither requested nor facilitated on the consent form.

New process          

A new Working with Children Check process was anticipated to be implemented late in 2012 or as early in 2013, but this has still not started. This will include a Working with Children National Criminal History Check, and checking of reported relevant employment proceedings.

For staff already employed, implementation of the new process is expected to be phased-in by sector, starting in 2013 and moving from one sector to the next over several years. There is uncertainty as to when the process will be applicable to Outside School Hours Care employees.

Holders of the new WWCC will be subject to ongoing monitoring. This monitoring will be limited to events which occur within NSW. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 5 years.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act will not be reported to the CCYP.

A registration or ID card will not be issued under the system. Instead, those applying will be given an ID number, which they will provide to employers and other interested organisations.

Employers register their interest in the WWCC holder using an online system, into which they login and enter the ID number, and be provided with confirmation that the number is valid, who is associate with it, and when it expires. A record of this check must be kept in a register by the organisation.

The act of checking the WWCC connects the employer to the WWCC holder and facilitates later notification if the WWCC is suspended or withdrawn. The WWCC holder cannot remove the interested party. This connection is broken only at renewal, after which the employer must repeat the online checking process.

This is the only process of any Australian jurisdiction, current or proposed, which ensures an employer is notified if a WWCC is withdrawn or cancelled.

Northern Territory     

The Working with Children Screening Authority issues an “Ochre Card” to applicants following a Working with Children National Criminal History Check.

Ongoing monitoring is limited to events which occur within the NT. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 2 years.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the Screening Authority.

Registered employers are notified if a clearance is suspended or cancelled, but there is no notification to the employer if or when they are registered or deregistered; the employer cannot know whether or not they are registered against a particular cleared person, to be certain they will be notified if that clearance is revoked.

Queensland     

The Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian issues a Blue Card to applicants subject to Working with Children National Criminal History Check.

Ongoing monitoring is limited to events which occur within Qld. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 3 years.

Registered employers are notified if a clearance is suspended or cancelled, but there is no notification to the employer if or when they are registered or deregistered; without constantly checking by manually sending employee lists to the Authority, the employer cannot know whether or not they are registered against a particular cleared person, to be certain they will be notified if a clearance is revoked.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the Screening Authority.

South Australia

A National Criminal History Check is required by legislation. This is a point-in-time check, and includes no ongoing monitoring.

The efficacy of National Criminal History Check is limited. Enquiries to CrimTrac by an individual (through their jurisdiction’s Police Service or a private provider) are limited to a class of check referred to as “Vulnerable Persons”. This is a lower standard of checking than that referred to as “Working with Children”, which can only be undertaken by recognised Working with Children Unit applying the Working with Children Law of that jurisdiction.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to CrimTrac, so they will not be visible on a National Criminal History Check.

The Department for Communities and Social Inclusion has set up a “Screening Unit” to provide “a consistent and confidential approach to the screening and independent assessment of background information”. The use of this “Screening Unit” is not mandatory.

It should be noted that this “Unit” is not a Working with Children Check Unit comparable to those in other jurisdictions. It is not able to conduct a Working with Children Criminal History Check, and is limited to providing a Vulnerable People Check equivalent to that which could be obtained by any individual.  It provides no registration or ongoing monitoring, and is not able to access expanded criminal history information under the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC) information.

Tasmania

Ongoing monitoring is limited to events which occur within Tasmania. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 3 years.

Criminal history information is used broadly, even where a offences are not clearly specifically to the safety of children but are instead related to the duties involved in position for which the check is sought. For example, driving history is taken into account if the applicant is to be the driver of a school bus. There is no requirement for re-checking or notification to the screening authority within the 3 year expiry period when a person’s position or duties change.

Registered employers are notified if a clearance is suspended or cancelled, but there is no notification to the employer if or when they are registered or deregistered; without repeatedly manually sending employee lists to the Authority, the employer cannot know whether or not they are registered against a particular cleared person, to be certain they will be notified if a clearance is revoked.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the Screening Authority.

In Tasmania, where the Conduct and Investigations Unit of Department of Education conducts Screening, the Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC) is not available, as no Tasmanian bodies are Prescribed for this purpose.

Victoria    

The Department of Justice issues a Working with Children Check Card, which includes a photograph of the applicant, subject to a Working with Children National Criminal History Check

Ongoing monitoring is limited to events which occur within Victoria. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 5 years.

Registered employers are notified if a clearance is suspended or cancelled, but there is no notification to the employer if or when they deregistered. An employer cannot know whether or not they are registered against a particular cleared person, to be certain they will be notified if a clearance is revoked.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the Screening Authority.

Western Australia

The Department of Justice issues a Working with Children Check Card, which includes a photograph of the applicant, subject to a Working with Children National Criminal History Check. This check cannot be

Ongoing monitoring is limited to events which occur within Victoria. Offences in other jurisdictions including the Commonwealth will not be monitored, and will only be taken into account at the time of renewal, once every 3 years.

Registered employers are notified if a clearance is suspended or cancelled, but there is no notification to the employer if or when they registered or deregistered. Without repeatedly manually sending employee lists to the Department for checking, an employer cannot know whether or not they are registered against a particular cleared person, to be certain they will be notified if a clearance is revoked.

Prohibition Notices issued by the Regulatory Authority under the Education and Care Services National Law Act are not reported to the Department.

What can you do?

It is unfortunate that the ‘normal’ checking processes required in each state and territory are inadequate to protect children, but this is how things currently stand.

There are, however, methods to increase the effectiveness of employment background checking to protect the safety of children and other vulnerable groups.

Applying our Legal and Human Resource backgrounds to this problem, we have structured Recruitment and Human Resource practices  for a number of our clients which together form a tight ‘safety net’, ensuring every possible action is undertaken to maximise the accuracy and ongoing validity of background checks for their employees.  

If your organisation is responsible for children, this is something you should not be without. 

Contact Privatei.com.au for more information on these services.

 

December 2012

Surveillance Drones

Increasingly, concerns are being expressed in various media that Drones, or Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs) could be the end of us all. Foreign drones, terrorist drones, and home made drones are some of the next things for us all to fear – apparently. For less than $500, it’s entirely possible to build a self-guided drone which will fly 100km along a predetermined route and crash itself into a selected target. I should add at this point that this is not a service we offer!

What we do offer is services which include the application of Drones we have built here at Privatei.com.au including both fixed-wing and multi-rotor unmanned surveillance aircraft with ranges of up to 30km.

In a recent case, we sent one of our UAVs on a GPS-guided journey to photograph a remote camp site in the South Australian desert. Our drone took off, flew over 10km and then collected video and photographic evidence confirming the nature of the activities going on there and identifying those participating, all without the knowledge of those present, and all entirely lawfully. It then automatically returned to our camp site and landed, following its pre-programmed instructions, without our intervention.

This is not the kind of service which other Private Investigators are able to offer, and is another example of why you should chose Privatei.com.au.

Related Articles

http://mashable.com/2013/04/03/china-drones-us-foes/

http://gizmodo.com/5968058/an-awesome-guy-made-a-flying-drone-armed-with-a-paintball-gun

http://www.diydrones.com/

http://www.slashgear.com/geek-hacks-flare-gun-into-wireless-camera-drone-shooter-09170422/

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Electronic (Including GPS) Tracking in Australia

This information is provided for Private Investigators such as myself; not for lawyers, police or other law enforcement, so it will not cover warrants or other similar topics. 

It’s generally assumed by many people, including many professional investigators, that electronic tracking (often referred to as “GPS Tracking”) is unlawful in Australia. As is so often the case, there is a lot more to it than that, and most people, including many so-called ‘professional’ investigators, don’t understand the law.

Victoria

Under the Surveillance Devices Act (Vic) a tracking device is an electronic device, the primary purpose of which is to determine the geographical location of a person or an object.

You can’t knowingly install, use or maintain a tracking device;

  • To locate a person without their consent
  • To locate an object without the consent of the person having (lawful) possession of that object.

Consent to be tracked, or for an object to be tracked, can be either express or implied. Express consent is where you are asked and accept being tracked. You might also sign a contract which includes the ability to track you.

For example, if your contract of employment includes a term which binds you to the acceptable use policies of your organisation’s technology or vehicles, and that policy includes a clause which allows the location of company property to be identified and/or recorded, then you’ve probably consented to your company phone, laptop and car being fitted with a tracking device without your further consent. Similar clauses are often found in modern rental car agreements, allowing them to track the car at will.

A sealed package which has a label explaining that it may be being tracked may satisfy the requirements of implied consent if you accept possession of it.

 

The Primary Purpose of the device must be to determine location. In Victoria, a mobile phone which also transmits location information is arguably 1) for making calls 2) for sending and receiving email 3) for browsing the web 4) for running other software or playing games … and somewhere down the list, it may also be for determining location. It is therefore arguable that software on a phone which transmits location information does not make that phone a tracking device, and is therefore not regulated. 

The illegal act is using the device to locate someone or something. The tense is the present; ie. where someone or something currently is. There are data logging devices available which record their position to a file within the device, which is later downloaded. Under the wording of the Victorian statute, retrieving the location history of a person or object may not constitute an offence, as it is technically not ‘locating’ the object (present tense) in anything close to real-time, and the recording of location information is not expressly forbidden.

Radio tracking collars for dogs, wildlife, etc, also fall into the definition of tracking devices. If you’re tracking your dog, the dog must be in your possession. Exactly who is in possession of wildlife is a bit more tricky, but permits are required for this activity anyway, and it’s not something that comes up much in the life of a PI.

If your dog, car, etc is stolen, the possession of that object is not lawful, so no consent is required to use a tracking device to locate it in Victoria (this is not the case in all states). Commercial services exist which rely on this principle to recover stolen cars. 

I include this example for clarity, because it comes up a fair bit in my line of work. If a person asks you to place a tracking device on a vehicle which is in their possession, the ownership of the vehicle is irrelevant, and the installation of the device is lawful. However, the use of that device while another person (eg. a spouse) is in possession of the vehicle is unlawful unless that other person has consented to being tracked. Again I emphasise that who owns the car makes no difference – the consent must be from the person in (lawful) possession of it when the device is being used, or being installed, or being maintained.

Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)

NSW

The difference between Victorian and NSW law on this subject is subtle but important. 

In NSW, a tracking device is one which is capable of being used to determine or monitor the geographical location of a person or an object. Being capable is very different to something the primary purpose of which is to determine location. In NSW, a mobile phone with a built-in GPS is quite capable of determining location, even if that’s not it’s primary purpose, which clearly makes it a tracking device.

The rest of effective law in NSW is the same as in Victoria (see above).

 

Surveillance Devices Act 2005 (NSW)

Western Australia

The definition of a tracking device is much the same as NSW, and includes any device capable of being used for tracking. In WA, however, they have gone a lot further. 

Not only is a person using/installing/maintaining an unlawful tracking device breaking the law, but so is the causing it to be attached/used/installed, etc. In this way, a client asking for their car to be tracked so they can find out where their spouse is going is in breach as much as the PI installing the device. 

Another important difference in WA is what I can only assume was an error in drafting where no exception is made for unlawful possession of an object. In all other Australian jurisdictions, consent is required from the person in lawful possession of the object to be tracked. In WA, consent is required from that person even if their possession is unlawful. In WA, therefore, tracking a stolen car to aid in its recovery would be unlawful, with both tracking company and the car owner (who is causing it to be tracked) both in breach of the legislation. 

Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA)

South Australia

Tracking devices are defined, but nothing in the legislation prohibits or even regulates their private or commercial use. 

 

Queensland

No regulation or prohibition exists. 

Tasmania

No regulation or prohibition exists. 

Northern Territory

The definition and description of the offence is essentially the same as NSW.

Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NT)

ACT

 

The definition and description of the offence is essentially the same as NSW.

If you believe I’ve made an error in the above, or it’s since become out of date, please let me know.  =)

 

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Can I record phone calls under Australian law?

This information is provided for Private Investigators such as myself; not for lawyers, police or other law enforcement, so it will not cover warrants, emergency interception or other similar topics. As a professional investigator, these questions come up fairly often – Can I make a call to someone and record it? Can I record incoming calls? Can these calls be used as evidence? 

Relevant Legislation

There are two kinds of legislation which you’ll need to understand when it comes to recording phone calls; telecommunications interception legislation (Commonwealth or ‘Federal’ law), and listening devices legislation (State law). You will need to understand both, and due to the latter, the resulting legality of call recording varies between states, even though telecommunications are generally a Commonwealth responsibility.

Telecommunications Interception Legislation

Under Section 7 of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, you cannot lawfully intercept a communication passing over a telecommunications system. If that looks pretty clear, then you’ve probably not read much legislation in the past.

Breaking it down:  

  1. Intercept includes listening to or recording, without the knowledge of the parties
  2. A communication means a conversation or message and can include data, images, sound, video, speech, etc.
  3. Passing over covers the time between when it is sent or transmitted at one end, and when it is accessible to the recipient at the other end.
    a) Accessible to the recipient means it has been delivered, or it is under the control of the recipient, or it has been received
  4. A telecommunications system … is one which transmits communications electrically, but not solely by radio. (Ie. a phone network, but not CB radio)

The first option should be apparent from point (1) above – if you have the knowledge of the parties, then this section does not apply to you, so (subject to Listening Devices legislation in your state) you can lawfully record the call. You should note that it doesn’t say anything about consent, but instead uses the word knowledge

Knowledge vs. Consent - What difference does it make?  

Knowledge and Consent are quite different things. In this case, once you tell the other party to the conversation that the call is being recorded, then under this legislation it lawfully can be – even if they say “no” or tell you to stop*. (*Check the Listening Devices legislation in your state, which may, in effect, overrule this.) In the case of interception, you’re not asking them for their permission or consent – you’re just making them aware of the recording – and this is what makes it lawful.

If you’ve ever tried having an open conversation with someone after you just told them it’s being recorded, you’ll realise that it either takes a while for them to forget, and so open up to you, or they don’t forget, they remain guarded, and you never get the whole story.

What if you don’t want them to know the call is being recorded?

From the breakdown of section 7 above, you can see this section only applies to interceptions passing over a telecommunications system. This is a key point, because if a phone conversation is recorded after it is accessible to the recipient, then it’s not passing over a telecommunications system, so it’s not covered by section 7.

Passing over? How does that help?

It’s probably easiest to explain by using some examples of ways you might record a phone conversation:

  • Using a speakerphone and making a recording in same room. As soon as the sound exits the speaker, it is available to you, and is therefore no longer passing over the telecommunications system, so it’s no longer covered by Section 7. 
  • Using a software device on your own computer, a digital recording of the call is made within your computer. Once the call enters your computer it is under your control, so it is no longer passing over the telecommunications system. Even if you hear the sound slightly after the recording is made, it was under your control from the moment it entered your system, which was obviously before you recorded it. 
  • Using recorder plugged into a phone such that the sound is diverted both to your ear and to the recorder – once the sound was under your control (after all, you had control enough control to divert it to your recorder), it’s no longer passing over a telecommunication system.  

Note that these examples only apply when you’re a party to the conversation (ie. when you are the intended recipient of the message which is being recorded) and do not apply if you are recording a call between other people which you’re not a party to.

Why does my insurance company warn me that the call is being recorded?

Codes of practice (eg. Industry Guideline - Participant Monitoring of  Voice Communications) guide organisations such as phone and insurance companies to alert people before recording calls. They are even told to allow people to opt-out of call recording (effectively setting up implied consent), while the legislation clearly doesn’t require this.

Listening Devices Laws

Beware: satisfying the federal legislative requirements so that you’re not ‘intercepting’ your own phone call could still leave you illegally recording it in your state.

Once you’re past the telecommunications interception legislation, you’re effectively in the same situation as someone recording a conversation on the street, or in a meeting room – you’re subject to relevant State and Territory based Listening Devices laws.

These laws vary from state to state:

  • in some states when you’re a party to the conversation you can record it even without telling the other party (eg. Victoria) 
  • in other states, parties to the conversation need to consent to the recording (eg. NSW) 

To check out your state and the rules which apply, you’ll need to check out this post:  Listening Devices Laws in Australia.

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Listening Devices Laws in Australia

Recording conversations and using Listening Devices is regulated in most states of Australia, and like so many other things the rules are quite different from state to state. In this post I’m going to compare the laws which apply in each state and territory. 

I’m aiming this at Private Investigators, not at law enforcement, so Warrants etc will not be covered. This is just a summary of the main points - I’ve provided links to the relevant legislation so you can get the rest of the detail. 

Note also that some states have legislation restricting the advertising and sale of listening devices, separately from their use.

Listening Devices are generally defined as anything which is capable of being used to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a conversation (except a hearing aid). Definitions vary slightly between states, with the above definition applying in Victoria. Things to note from this definition: 

  • It doesn’t have to be able to record the sound to be a listening device
  • It doesn’t have to transmit the sound somewhere else to be a listening device (a normal Dictaphone is a listening device)
  • A video camera which records sound is usually also a Listening Device
  • If your intention is to listen to something other than a conversation, your device may still be a listening device when it is capable of being used to listen to a conversation
  • Even if your device is a classified as a Listening Device, it may still be lawful to use it in some circumstances
  • Generally it’s an offence both to use the listening device unlawfully and to publish or use any record of a conversation unlawfully recorded - check the legislation in your state or territory.

Victoria

You cannot install, use or maintain a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you’re a party to the conversation, or you have consent of all the parties to that conversation.

 

A Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be overheard by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you are a party to the conversation, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re not a party to the conversation, you need consent from all the parties - not just one. Consent may be express or implied. 
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

Workplaces

Listening devices cannot be used in toilets, washrooms, change rooms or lactation rooms.

Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)

 

New South Wales

You cannot install, use, maintain or cause to be used a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you are a party to the conversation and have the consent of all the principle parties to that conversation, or the consent of one of the principle parties and it’s for the protection of their interests.

Express or implied consent of one of the principle parties makes you a party to the conversation. 

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be overheard by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard.

 

Where you are recording a conversation to protect your own interests, it is for your own use and must not be communicated to other parties. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you are a party to the conversation, and if you have consent from all the principle parties (express or implied), you may use a Listening Device.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you are recording the conversation to protect your own lawful interests (eg. as evidence against later invented allegations of what was said) then you do not need consent from the other parties
  • If you’re not a party to the private conversation, use of a Listening Device is restricted even if you have consent.
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, then it’s not a private conversation and use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • “Causing” a Listening Device to be used unlawfully (asking someone else to do it) is also an offence

Workplaces

The use of Listening Devices is not subject to any special rules other than the above.

Surveillance Devices Act 2005 (NSW)

Queensland

 

You cannot use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you are a party to that conversation.

Express or implied consent of one of the parties speaking or being spoken to (which I will refer to as the principle parties, even though in Qld this term is not used) makes you a party to the conversation. As a party to the conversation, you may use a Listening Device. 

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume either of the principle parties don’t want to be overheard by others, unless either of the principle parties having the conversation should reasonably expect that they may be overheard. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you’re not a party to the private conversation, use of a Listening Device is restricted.
  • If you have consent to overhear/record/etc the conversation from one of the principle parties, you are a party to that conversation.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, the use a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, then it’s not a private conversation and use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • Only the use, not the installation or maintenance of a listening device is restricted in Qld

 

Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld)

Western Australia

You cannot install, use or maintain (or cause to be installed, used or maintained) a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you are a party to the conversation and have the consent of all of the principle parties, or the consent of one of the principle parties and the use is for the protection of their interests.

Express or implied consent of one of the principle parties makes you a party to the conversation. 

 

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume any of the parties to it don’t want to be overheard by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you are not a party to the private conversation, the use of a Listening Device is restricted.
  • If you are a principle party to the conversation and you’re making a recording for protection of your interests, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you have consent from a principle party to the conversation and you’re making a recording for protection of that party’s interests, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have consent from all the principle parties, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted. 
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA)

South Australia

 

You cannot use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you have consent of all the parties to that conversation, or you are a party to the conversation and the use of the device is in the course of your duty, in the public interest or for the protection your interests. 

In the course of duty may refer to Private Investigators.

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be overheard by others. There is no exception in SA for circumstances where the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard - these are still private conversations.

Key points and examples:

  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have consent from all the parties to that conversation, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and the use is in the course of your duty, or in the public interest, or to protect your interests, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted
  • If you’re not a party to the conversation, the use of a Listening Device is restricted. 
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, use of a Listening Device is still restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

 

Because private optical surveillance is not specially restricted in SA, these rules also form the restrictions on Optical surveillance where it includes audio.

Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA)

Tasmania

You cannot use (or cause or permit to be used) a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you are a party* to the conversation and have the consent of all of the principle parties, or the consent of one of the principle parties and the recording is for the protection of their interests. 

 

Express or implied consent of one of the principle parties makes you a party to the conversation. 

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the any of the parties don’t want to be overheard by others. There is no exception for circumstances where the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you’re not a party to the private conversation, use of a Listening Device is restricted.
  • If you have consent to overhear/record/etc the conversation from one of the principle parties, you are a party to that conversation.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have consent of all the principle parties, the use a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have the consent of one principle party, and it’s for the protection of that party’s interests, the use of a device is not restricted.
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, then it’s not a private conversation and use of a Listening Device is still restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

Because private optical surveillance is not specially restricted in Tas, these rules also form the restrictions on Optical surveillance where it includes audio.

 

Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas)

Northern Territory

You cannot install, use or maintain a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation when

  • you’re not a party to that conversation; and 
  • you know that the device is being used (installed, maintained etc) without the express or implied consent of each of the parties.

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be overheard by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard.

This legislation has a big loophole - you need to have actual knowledge that you don’t have the consent of the parties in order for the use of the listening device to be unlawful. If a client asks you to install and use a listening device and they tell you that the parties to the conversation have given consent, both your and their actions are lawful - even when they did not actually consent.   

 

Key points and examples:

  • If you are a party to the conversation, the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you have consent from all the parties to the conversation, or you think you do (ie. you don’t know that you don’t), then the use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NT)

ACT

You cannot use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a Private Conversation unless you are a party to the conversation and have the consent of all of the principle parties, or the consent of one of the principle parties and the recording is for the protection of their interests. 

 

Express or implied consent of one of the principle parties makes you a party to the conversation. 

Private Conversation is one in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the any of the parties don’t want to be overheard by others. There is no exception for circumstances where the parties should reasonably expect that they may be overheard. 

Key points and examples:

  • If you’re not a party to the private conversation, use of a Listening Device is restricted.
  • If you have consent to overhear/record/etc the conversation from one of the principle parties, you are a party to that conversation.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have consent of all the principle parties, the use a Listening Device is not restricted.
  • If you are a party to the conversation, and you have the consent of one principle party, and it’s for the protection of that party’s interests, the use of a device is not restricted.
  • If the conversation is loud enough for you to hear it, in a place where you or other people may hear it, then it’s not a private conversation and use of a Listening Device is still restricted.
  • If you’re listening to anything other than a private conversation, use of a Listening Device is not restricted.

Because private optical surveillance is not specially restricted in the ACT, these rules also form the restrictions on Optical surveillance where it includes audio. 

 

Listening Devices Act 1992 (ACT)

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If you believe any of the above is in error, please let me know!

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Optical Surveillance Laws in Australia

The use of optical surveillance devices is regulated in most states of Australia, but very differently in some as compared to others.

Optical surveillance devices are generally defined as things which allow you to observe or record an activity. You should note that the “observe” part of that definition is common, and means that binoculars, telescopes, rifle scopes and night vision devices are all optical surveillance devices, even if they cannot record what they see. 

I’ll examine each state in turn, and the differences should become apparent. 

Victoria

You can’t use an optical surveillance device to view or record a Private Activity. Whether the place is a ‘public place’ or a ‘private place’, or whether public or private property, is not relevant in Victoria.

A Private Activity is any activity which is carried on inside a building in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be seen by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be seen.

  • If you are a party to the activity, surveillance by you is not restricted. No consent by the other parties is required.
  • If the activity is happening outside, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the parties should reasonably expect they may be seen by people other than themselves, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the circumstances indicate the parties don’t care if they are seen, surveillance is not restricted. 

Workplaces

Surveillance is not permitted in a toilet, wash room, change room, lactation room.

Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic)

Nudity

You cannot, without consent, intentionally use a device (which is essentially anything other than your eyes) to observe another person's genital or anal region unless it is reasonable for that person to expect that his or her genital or anal region could be observed. The public place / private place distinction does not apply to genital regions. You also cannot intentionally film or photograph another person's genital or anal region in those circumstances either.

When it is, or is not reasonable to assume you might be observed depends on the circumstances. For example, a on a nude beach, you should assume you may be observed, making pictures lawful. Walking down the street - photographs would be lawful. If someone is naked in their own back yard, remember this is an objective test, asking whether a reasonable would expect that they "could not be observed" - not that they "would not be observed". If a reasonable person would thing they might be observed, even if it's just a possibility... then the activity is not protected and surveillance including photographs are lawful. To reasonably expect that you could not be observed, with radio controlled 'drones' costing $100, aircraft above them, and Google Earth satellites above them, is a circumstance which is now so limited in the modern world that I cannot immediately think of an example where it might reasonably apply.

If you accidentally capture images or video of another person's genital or anal region when they should reasonably have expected that this could not be done, you cannot distribute them.

You cannot, without consent, distribute images or video of people involved in sexual acts where it is "contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct". See S.40 of the Act for more information on this

Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

New South Wales

You can only install an optical surveillance device within a premises with the express or implied consent of the owner or occupier of the premises.

You can only install optical surveillance in or on a vehicle or other object with the express or implied consent of the owner or occupier of the vehicle or other object.

  • An optical surveillance device in your possession, on your premises, in your vehicle, or on your object is not restricted.
  • Where the occupier of the premises or car changes after the device is installed, the device may no longer be used or maintained unless you have the consent of the new occupier.

Workplaces 

Surveillance by an employer while the employee is at work (including by the employer hiring an investigator) is first classified as either overt or covert. 

  • Overt surveillance requires 14 days notice in writing by the employer to the employee, unless it’s not at the usual place of employment. Cameras must be visible and signs must notify people that they may be under surveillance. 
  • Covert surveillance while at work requires the approval of a Magistrate. 

Devices used for surveillance at the workplace cannot be also used for surveillance outside the workplace (you will need separate cameras).

 

Surveillance Devices Act 2005 (NSW)

Workplace Surveillance Act 2005

Queensland

You cannot use an optical surveillance device to view or record a person, without their consent, who would reasonably expect their actions to be private, if they are in a private place OR if they are engaging in a private act.

Private Act is showering, bathing, using a toilet, being undressed, or sexual activity not usually done in public. (No other act is considered a private act.)

A Private Place is somewhere you’d expect someone to engage in private acts. (Eg. A bedroom, bathroom, toilet, change room. Not a car, park, lounge room, kitchen, office, meeting room.)

  • If a person is in a private place (eg. a bathroom), surveillance is restricted.
  • If a person is engaged in in a private act (eg. undressing), even if they’re not in a private place, surveillance is restricted.
  • If a reasonable person wouldn’t expect their actions to be private (eg. they’re in a public park), surveillance is not restricted. 

Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld)

 

Western Australia

You can’t use an optical surveillance device to view or record a Private Activity. Whether the place is a ‘public place’ or a ‘private place’, or whether public or private property, is not relevant in WA.

Private Activity is any activity which is carried on in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be seen by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be seen.

  • If you are a party to the activity, express or implied consent of all the other principle parties is required.
  • If the parties should reasonably expect they may be seen by people other than themselves, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the circumstances indicate the parties don’t care if they are seen, surveillance is not restricted. 

Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA)

South Australia

 

Optical surveillance is not regulated in South Australia. Beware that if it transmits or records sound in addition to video, your device may be considered a listening device under the relevant legislation. 

Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA)

Tasmania

Optical surveillance is not regulated in Tasmania. Beware that if it transmits or records sound in addition to video, your device may be considered a listening device under the relevant legislation. 

 

Listening Devices Act 1991 (Tas)

Northern Territory

You can’t use an optical surveillance device to view or record a Private Activity. Whether the place is a ‘public place’ or a ‘private place’, or whether public or private property, is not relevant in NT.

Private Activity is any activity which is carried on in circumstances where you may reasonably assume the parties to it don’t want to be seen by others, unless the parties should reasonably expect that they may be seen.

  • If you are a party to the activity, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the parties should reasonably expect they may be seen by people other than themselves, surveillance is not restricted.
  • If the circumstances indicate the parties don’t care if they are seen, surveillance is not restricted

Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NT)

 

ACT

Optical surveillance (other than for law enforcement) is not regulated in the ACT. Beware that if it transmits or records sound in addition to video, your device may be considered a listening device under the relevant legislation. 

Listening Devices Act 1992 (ACT)

 

If you believe I’ve made an error in the above, or it’s since become out of date, please let me know.  =)

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