Camera surveillance and privacy – follow-up review

This is a follow-up report on Queensland government agency implementation of 15 recommendations about camera surveillance and privacy made by the Office of the Information Commissioner to the Queensland Parliament during 2012-13.

In 2012-13, the Office of the Information Commissioner reported on the extent to which camera surveillance systems were designed and operated with privacy considerations in mind as required by the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

This follow-up review has found that progress has been made in implementing all the recommendations of the original review.

It was evident that agencies had made substantial progress in their ability to track the number and details of cameras. Agencies provided a range of information about the number and purpose of usage of fixed surveillance cameras to the follow-up review, including that agencies operated 32,230 fixed surveillance cameras in 2015, an increase of almost 60% compared to 2011, when agencies reported operating 20,310 cameras. The follow-up review noted a trend of existing camera installations increasing in size.

Generally, the follow-up review noted increased inclusion of privacy considerations in the governance of camera surveillance systems, compared to 2011. In 2015, 80% of agencies reported that they actively informed the community about their use of camera surveillance. Each privacy element had been addressed by around half of the agencies in their surveillance camera policies, procedures and practices.

There continue to be opportunities for improvement. In particular, agencies could do more to address data security practices, implement policies and procedures for dealing with requests for footage and use their websites to provide information to the public. The review noted over 4000 requests for footage had been received by agencies in the previous 12 months. Almost 75% of the agencies operating camera surveillance cameras reported receiving at least one request for footage.

Only approximately 40% of agencies reported having policies and procedures fully implemented to manage requests for footage. Agencies reviewed in-depth in the original review provided progress reports to the follow-up review. These agencies had made progress in implementing the recommendations. The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in particular had implemented a comprehensive suite of policies and procedures that could be a useful resource for other agencies in developing their own policies and procedures.

Read the full report (PDF, 742.91 KB)

Supplementary material

CCTV Survey 2015 open data sets