Surveillance in Public Places: Terms of Reference

The surveillance reference deals with the second part of this terms of reference. The first part formed the Workplace Privacy reference. 

In light of the widespread use of surveillance and other privacy-invasive technologies in workplaces and places of public resort, and the potential benefits and risks posed by these technologies, the Victorian Law Reform Commission will inquire into and report progressively upon:

a. whether legislative or other reforms should be made to ensure that workers' privacy, including that of employees, independent contractors, outworkers and volunteers, is appropriately protected in Victoria. In the course of this inquiry, the Commission should consider activities such as

  • surveillance and monitoring of workers' communications;
  • surveillance of workers by current and emerging technologies, including the use of video and audio devices on the employers' premises or in other places;
  • physical and psychological testing of workers, including drug and alcohol testing, medical testing and honesty testing;
  • searching of workers and their possessions;
  • collecting, using or disclosing personal information in workers' records.

b. whether legislative or other measures are necessary to ensure that there is appropriate control of surveillance, including current and emerging methods of surveillance. As part of this examination, the commission should consider whether any regulatory models proposed by the commission in relation to surveillance of workers, could be applied in other surveillance contexts, such as surveillance in places of public resort, to provide for a uniform approach to the regulation of surveillance.

In undertaking this reference, the Commission should have regard to:

  • the interests of employers and other users of surveillance, including their interest in protecting property and assets, complying with laws and regulations, ensuring productivity and providing safe and secure places;
  • the protection of the privacy, autonomy and dignity of workers and other individuals;
  • the interaction between state and Commonwealth laws, and the jurisdictional limits imposed on the Victorian Parliament;
  • the desirability of building on the work of other law reform bodies.


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