Surveillance Devices Law

Vic - Tracking, Data and Reporting

Tracking Devices

Section 8 provides that no person can knowingly install, use or maintain a tracking device on a person or object without the consent of the person or the person who is in lawful possession of the object. Tracking devices are defined to include any electronic devices the primary purpose of which is to determine the geographic location of a person or object. A breach of this provision is an offence and punishable by a fine or up to two years’ imprisonment. Further discussion of the law of tracking devices is to be found above under the heading, Tracking Devices, under Confluent Issues, above.....

 

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Data Surveillance

Data surveillance devices are covered by section 9. Section 9 only regulates that activities of law enforcement officers and leaves civilian activity alone. Cyberspace offences of various kinds are dealt with by other legislation.

 

Prohibition on Reporting Surveillance Results

Section 11 provides that it is unlawful to communicate, or publish a record or report of a private conversation or private activity that has been made as a direct or indirect result of the use of a listening, optical or tracking device, whether they are a party or not. A breach of this provision is an offence punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine.

 

Exceptions are listed in sub-section 2, including:

  • Where communication or publication is reasonably necessary for protection of the public interest or the interests of the person making the communication,

  • In the course of legal or disciplinary proceedings, or

  • Communication to police.

 

The Parliamentary intention in prohibiting publication and communication is explained in the parliamentary speech of the then Victorian Attorney General in 1999 as follows:....

 

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[1] VicHansard, Surveillance Devices Bill, Assembly, Hulls, 22 April 1999, p547.

[2] VicHansard, Surveillance Devices Bill, Assembly, Hulls, 22 April 1999, p550.

[3] WK v The Queen [2011] VSCA 345, [40]-[41].

[4] Rezaiee v Australian Broadcasting Corporation (No2) [2014] NSWSC 1656.