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Recording private conversations or activities - Surveillance Devices

The Surveillance Devices Act 2016 (SA) commenced operation on 18 December 2017 and regulates the recording of a private conversation or activity through the use of surveillance devices.

Surveillance devices include devices that record audio or vision, track a location, or record computer data.

While there are some exceptions, it is generally prohibited to do the following actions:

  • Install or use a listening device that overhears, monitors, or audio records a private conversation without the consent of all the principal parties [s 4];
  • Install or use an optical surveillance device on a premises (or vehicle) that visually records or observes a private activity without the consent of all the principal parties [s 5];
  • Install or use a tracking device that determines the geographical location of a person (or their vehicle) without their consent [s 7] (use of the device solely to locate and retrieve the device itself is not an offence); and
  • Install or use a data surveillance device that accesses, tracks, monitors or records the input/output of information from a person’s computer without their consent [s 8].

The maximum penalties for committing an offence under the above sections is a fine of up to $75 000 for a body corporate or a fine of up to $15 000 or imprisonment for a maximum of three years for an individual.

The parties to the conversation or activity may give either express or implied consent for the surveillance device to be used.

Other than the information here, you may also find useful the information sheet produced by the Attorney-General's Department "What you should know about the Surveillance Devices Act 2016"

Recording private conversations or activities - Surveillance Devices  :  Last Revised: Tue Apr 17th 2018
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.