Big Brother

For 20 years, readers of the Centralian Advocate looked forward to the Friday edition. Therein Povey Stirk Lawyers published a 300 word tale of fiction based on legally newsworthy events.

The following is a sample of these blogs


13 February 2016

Alex isn’t paranoid, but he’s convinced they are watching him. While Alex can’t quite put his finger on who ‘they’ are, he knows that Sting is definitely watching him. Sting runs a pub, and has installed CCTV throughout his premises. Every move you make and every step you take, Sting will be watching you.


While at Sting’s pub one night, Alex had an exchange with a stranger which he wants to follow up on. He has requested that Sting hand over the CCTV footage between 9 and 11 that night, which is about when he thinks the exchange occurred.

The law concerning privacy and surveillance has more shades of grey than an EL James novel.

Sting could argue that the CCTV is his personal property being used on his private premises, so he can do as he pleases.


However, various pieces of legislation may apply here.

If Commonwealth privacy legislation applies to Sting’s business, he may be required to ensure that any personal information he records of people is kept secure and is destroyed or de-identified.


There is also a Northern Territory surveillance legislation, regulating the use of surveillance devices such as CCTV. Under this legislation, Sting may be restricted in how he can use footage recorded of people using his CCTV.

Sting has to be careful, because if he releases a block of CCTV footage to Alex, then Alex may be able to recognise his neighbour drinking to excess later in the evening, or that earlier in the evening, his very-married boss was engaged in a deep conversation with a young lady very much not his wife.


Alex may feel he has the right to obtain footage taken of himself, but his neighbour and boss would be furious to know that Sting was releasing the details of their personal lives to strangers


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Disclaimer: This document provides general information and is not legal advice. While we endeavour to ensure the information is correct at the date of publication, laws frequently change. If anything in this post is relevant to you, please contact us for advice on your specific situation