Rise of the machines: Surveillance laws ramped up to combat privacy breaches

A shake-up of Queensland surveillance laws is on the cards with the Queensland Government flagging more clampdowns to restrict advancing technology from invading people’s privacy.


May 04, 2023, updated May 04, 2023
Drones may soon have their wings clipped as part of new laws proposed by the Queensland Government. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Drones may soon have their wings clipped as part of new laws proposed by the Queensland Government. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Reforms to strengthen laws that manage surveillance devices and similar technologies will focus on CCTV, tracking and digital recording devices, as well as recreational and commercial drones with advanced optical and audio recording capabilities.

The rapidly developing technology in the field is currently driving the need for consultation the government has initiated as part of the proposed regulation overhaul.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said surveillance devices were impacting the privacy of many Queenslanders.

“We want to make sure our laws keep pace with these advancements in technology, without disrupting their intended safe use,” she said.

“It is critical that we have legislation that reflects a modern Queensland and effectively protects against invasions of privacy carried out through the use of various types of surveillance devices.

“The consultation paper is about seeking views on the approach to stronger privacy protections for Queenslanders, and making sure technology is prohibited from harmful use, such as harassment, or further hurting victims of domestic and family violence.”

While Queenslanders are currently protected by laws governing the use of listening devices in certain circumstances, under the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971, the consultation paper discusses more comprehensive protections.

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The criminal prohibitions discussed in the consultation paper would regulate optical, tracking and data surveillance devices in legislation, as well as impose criminal penalties on the use, installation, and maintenance of surveillance devices without consent, and the sharing of information obtained from a surveillance device.

“I encourage everyone with an interest to provide feedback, because community input from a diverse range of stakeholders will ensure that any reforms are relevant and effective,” Fentiman said.



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