The NSW Government hasn't wasted any time reacting to a recent decision made by the NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal on 3 May that caused the Shoalhaven City Council to switch off its CCTV surveillance cameras in the Nowra CBD. Please see our recent article for more information about the decision.
As a result of the recent decision, the NSW Government has put forward the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment (CCTV) Regulation 2013 (Regulation). The object of the Regulation is to exempt local councils from provisions of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) relating to:
- the collection of personal information, by using a CCTV camera installed for the purpose of filming in a public place if the camera is positioned so no other land is filmed (unless it is not reasonably practicable to avoid filming the other land when filming the public place); and
- the disclosure to the NSW Police Force of that information by way of live transmission.
The Regulation particularly exempts local councils from Section 11 of the PPIP Act, meaning local councils no longer have to take such steps that are reasonable in the circumstances to ensure the information collected is relevant to that purpose, is not excessive, and is accurate, up to date and complete.
We regard the Regulation as an over-reaction by the State Government as the Tribunal found that Shellharbour Council did not comply with the PPIP Act. It failed to use the footage collected for law enforcement purposes and failed to monitor the security safeguards Shellharbour Council had in place to protect the personal information collected. All Shellharbour Council had to do was to get its own affairs in order to comply with the PPIP Act.