Media release: Camera Surveillance and Privacy Report—31 July 2012

Queensland’s Office of the Information Commissioner compliance review report, Camera Surveillance and Privacy: Review of camera surveillance use by Queensland government agencies and compliance with the privacy principles in the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) was tabled in Parliament today.

The Camera Surveillance review examined the practice of camera surveillance in Queensland government agencies and the extent to which camera surveillance systems were designed and operated with privacy considerations in mind.

The Camera Surveillance review involved an audit of camera surveillance usage by Queensland public sector agencies, including local government and public authorities, to examine the extent to which the increasing volume of surveillance footage is gathered and used in accordance with legislative requirements designed to protect Queenslanders’ privacy. 

Acting Privacy Commissioner, Lemm Ex said, “By and large, the 20,000 or more cameras being operated by Queensland government agencies are being operated with attention to privacy issues.  This has largely been due to the efforts of the operational staff, who have applied common sense to the development and operation of the systems.” 

“The ambiguity surrounding management responsibilities of camera surveillance systems represents a risk, which if left unmanaged, could result in a significant privacy breach.” Mr Ex said. “Agencies’ privacy vulnerabilities would be greatly reduced if corporate attention was given to the operation of the camera surveillance systems with privacy considerations in mind.”

“This report recommends that all Queensland government agencies review their camera surveillance systems, and the policies and procedures regarding their governance to improve compliance with the privacy principles under the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).” Mr Ex said.

The report makes 15 recommendations, including that allQueenslandgovernment agencies that operate camera surveillance systems to:

  • ensure data security practices protect camera surveillance footage against loss, unauthorised access, disclosure, modification or any other misuse, and that these practices are described in documented policies and procedures.
  • actively inform the community of the presence of camera surveillance systems, the rationale for their deployment, the privacy safeguards for the system and the mechanism by which the community can apply for access to the surveillance footage.

An audio grab (MP3, 1291.6 KB)containing comments from the Acting Privacy Commissioner and the report is available (PDF, 2014.2 KB).

Media contact: Mr Steve Haigh, Manager, Training and Stakeholder Relations
Phone: 07 3405 1111