Freedom Strikes Back Down Under — CCTV breaks Australian privacy law, cameras switched off
May 9, 2013
Expansion of the global surveillance grid was dealt a major blow in Australia last week after a legal challenge by an individual against the State of New South Wales brought about a landmark ruling.
A local resident opposed to the introduction of CCTV cameras succesfully proved that public surveillance carried out by his city council not only broke Australia’s privacy laws, but also did nothing to prevent crime — the supposed reason for its installation.
This important ruling effectively challenges the legality of public space CCTV in New South Wales and sets a highly significant precedent with far-reaching consequences across the State and potential implications for the rest of Australia.
The legal decision announced on 2nd May 2013 by an Administrative Decisions Tribunal for the State of New South Wales ruled that:
“The Council is to refrain from any conduct or action in contravention of an information protection principle or a privacy code of practice;
“The Council is to render a written apology to the Applicant for the breaches, and advise him of the steps to be taken by the Council to remove the possibility of similar breaches in the future.”
The tribunal also ruled that “the expert evidence suggests that CCTV does little to prevent crime,” and that “the Council has not demonstrated that filming people in the Nowra CBD is reasonably necessary to prevent crime.” It also found that “since the Council’s CCTV program was implemented, crime has increased in the Nowra CBD in the categories of assaults, break and enters and malicious damage.”
Full details of the adjudication can be found here.
As a result of this landmark ruling, cameras installed in the city of Nowra, New South Wales have been switched off while the local authority, Shoalhaven City Council and the State government of New South Wales consider their next move.
Adam Bonner, the man who took the council to court, is not a lawyer or a seasoned campaigner, but a local farmer who simply acted on his principles, as he explains:
“For many years, even before I started this whole action back in 2009, I had always believed in a free and fair society that a person should have to consent to have their personal information collected and stored by the state.”
“There is also something
This article originally appeared on : Prison Planet