Local councils are using advances in surveillance technology legitimately to collect information about people’s daily activities. In parallel, they need to fulfil their responsibility to respect individuals’ right to privacy, by managing these systems well and in compliance with privacy requirements.
Council’s CCTV surveillance systems fall into two main categories:
- Systems installed in public spaces for use by Victoria Police
- Systems installed in and around council facilities for use by council staff.
In this audit, we assessed whether councils keep secure the information they collect from these CCTV surveillance systems and whether they protect the privacy of individuals. Specifically, we assessed the management and use of surveillance devices in public places by five councils to see whether they adhere to relevant privacy laws and appropriate use policies and whether they protect the information they collect from unauthorised disclosure.
The councils we audited were:
- the City of Melbourne
- Whitehorse City Council
- Hume City Council
- East Gippsland Shire Council
- Horsham Rural City Council.
Between them, these councils have more than 1 100 CCTV cameras and they are increasing their use of surveillance devices.
We made 11 recommendations—nine for all audited councils, one for Whitehorse City Council and one for Horsham Rural City Council.