This ACT lot owner is concerned about the installation of CCTV cameras. This question has been answered by Jan Browne, Bridge Strata.
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- QUESTION: Our building manager has access to the common property CCTV footage. When does reviewing CCTV footage and querying activity become an invasion of privacy?
- QUESTION: A lot owner has requested to install CCTV cameras. I’m the only owner to object because it affects my privacy the most. Can I do anything to stop this from going ahead?
Questions: Our building manager has access to the common property CCTV footage. When does reviewing CCTV footage and querying activity become an invasion of privacy?
We are in the ACT. Our building manager has access to the common property CCTV footage. We do not have a current CCTV written policy
I am a Committee member and am currently showing prospective contractors through the building to seek quotes for new contracts.
I recently became aware that the building manager is logging into the system from offsite and watching my activity via the CCTV and is then questioning others who accompanied me as to who I was with.
Noting that we have warning signs around the common areas to advise that the CCTV is present, what are my expectations of privacy, and when does reviewing footage and querying activity become an invasion of privacy?
Answer: It is advisable for a scheme to have a Policy in relation to their CCTV set up including the requirements around when footage is viewed and who can view that footage.
There is a presumption that when a person is in public and especially if signage is installed it would be legal to record a person on the property. There would be an unwritten reasonable expectation when relevant signage and/or cameras are installed that a person would be recorded.
Below is an extract from the OAIC (Office of the Australian Information Commissioner) Govt website:
“If the photo or video was taken by someone acting in a personal capacity, the Privacy Act doesn’t apply — because it doesn’t cover individuals.
In some situations, there may be state or territory laws that prevent someone from photographing your private activities without your consent. Contact the Attorney-General’s Department in your state or territory for more information or the police if you are concerned for your safety”.
It is advisable for a scheme to have a Policy in relation to their CCTV set up including the requirements around when footage is viewed and who can view that footage. (usually a request from police). You could also include a policy as to when the Building Manager could access the footage. and for what purposes.
This post appears in Strata News #412.
Question: A lot owner has requested to install CCTV cameras. I’m the only owner to object because it affects my privacy the most. Can I do anything to stop this from going ahead?
The owners of the unit directly opposite would like to install CCTV cameras. Due to the range of the CCTV cameras, the footage would encompass the entrance to the complex, part of my front garden and along the side of my unit.
The Body Corporate put the proposal to a vote and I was the only owner to object. They have now said that because none of the other owners have objected, I have no choice in the matter.
However, none of the other owners are affected to the extent I am. When the proposal was first put forward, I raised concerns that this would be an infringement on my privacy.
Is there anything I can do?
I’m happy to compromise with the owners as long as the range of the cameras doesn’t encompass the area immediately around my unit. I would be very grateful for your advice as I would like to resolve this matter in a manner which would leave us both on good terms.
Answer: The first solution would be to talk over those concerns with the neighbour.
There has been a lot of controversy in recent time as to the location of CCTV Cameras and concerns from neighbours on privacy.
As long as the camera is located on their property, it is legal (in most states). The hidden camera can be placed in any public area on the property for surveillance. It is still illegal to record audio, even on a hidden camera.
The Acts Governing CCTV cameras are covered by the below legislations.
- Human Rights Act 2004
- Information Privacy Act 2014
- Workplace Privacy Act 2011
- Territory Records Act 2002
Understand the concerns of this owner and the first solution would be to talk over those concerns with the neighbour. If the Owners Corporation agrees to the install then this places the owner in a difficult situation and the only other alternative is a private action through ACAT or a private mediator.
This post appears in Strata News #373.
Have a question about the installation of CCTV cameras or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- NSW: Invasion of Privacy by CCTV Cameras
- NSW: Q&A Handling a False Accusation of Privacy Breach
- ACT: Q&A Bylaws to ban smoking in apartments
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.