Is GPS Tracking Legal In Australia?
If you are thinking about using an electronic device to track a company vehicle, person or object then you might have some concerns about surveillance legislation in Australia. Whether you live in South Australia, Western Australia, or somewhere in the Northern Territory, if you are about to invest in a GPS vehicle tracking system here is what you need to know about surveillance laws!
Australian GPS Vehicle Tracking Laws
Knowingly Authorised Or Permitted Use Of GPS Trackers
Covert surveillance relating to GPS tracking is not as clear as you would hope in Australian capital territory. For example, if you are a business owner and want to track your employees there is implied consent. Therefore, you can monitor the geographical location of the employee while they use the company vehicle regardless of express or implied consent. However, if the employee is using their own vehicle you would need to get employee consent before equipping a tracker to their vehicle or individuals may face fines. Therefore, if you are the director of the company and the company owns the vehicles being used, you can legally record employee activity without notifying any parties involved.
Using A GPS Device To Determine A Spouse Is Cheating
The definition and description of using a GPS tracker to bust a cheating partner are also very important. For example, if you co-own the vehicle your wife, husband, boyfriend, or girlfriend can hide a GPS tracker in the vehicle without obtaining consent. If you do not own the vehicle then you can not enter the automobile and hide a tracker meant for determining the geographical location of that car according to tracking laws in Australia. However, you can use a device to determine the location (real time GPS) if you equip the tracker outside of the vehicle. The reason is surveillance acts determine you do not have a right to privacy in a public setting, and the outside of your vehicle is not technically private. This is why many people who believe their partner is cheating on them use these types of surveillance tools to bust the cheater!
When Can A GPS Tracker Be Used In Australia?
The only exceptions that apply relate to using a tracking device ‘for a lawful purpose’. There is no case law or commentary about what the court considers a ‘lawful purpose’ to be. In the absence of any direct guidance, the meaning of a ‘lawful purpose’ could be taken to be similar to the meaning of a ‘lawful interests’ (as used in relation to an exception where a listening device may be used). See Corby & Corby.
Surveillance Devices Act
GPS Tracking Laws May Expand Upon Sexual Predators
When it comes to the use of GPS tracker devices, law enforcement entities are quite familiar with the advantageous data provided by real-time GPS solutions. This is why Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie is seeking to identify and close loopholes in the current GPS tracking system laws in Australia, while also seeking to modify current legislation to better monitor dangerous sexual offenders.
What this new proposition backed by Bleijie would do is capture more criminals violating the Dangerous Prisoners Act, resulting in longer prison sentences and mandatory GPS tracking of those released from incarceration. Some of these criminal acts described as minor and not falling under the Dangerous Prisoners Act include such things as groping and lifting the skirts of women strangers. According to data and case studies from psychologists, these types of behaviors should not be viewed as minor offenses but rather behaviors that can easily manifest into more serious and aggressive sexual attacks or offenses. With changes to the existing law, Bleijie would be able to list those committing publicly perceived minor offenses as standard sexual offenses and force predators to undergo registration and possible GPS tracking.
The key component to the law that would be modified would provide Bleijie and law enforcement the ability to move forward with additional oversight if they suspect any prisoner or offender may become involved in any future inappropriate sexual offenses. Most likely that action would involve the use of a GPS tracking device to track where that individual is located at all times while providing real-time GPS locational information.
“The reality is that law enforcement and government agencies need laws that will allow them to be proactive in keeping dangerous sexual offenders behind bars, and any changes that can be made to existing laws to achieve that end result would be a step in the right direction”, explained an expert on GPS surveillance at Tracking System Direct.
The Queensland sex offender and GPS tracking laws are currently in the process of being evaluated by Bleijie who has stated he intends on doing whatever is necessary to make his region of Australia safer for children.
Knowingly installing a GPS tracker on a car in Australia without express consent can potentially be illegal and therefore the best thing to do is speak with an attorney in your area of intended use whether that is in South Wales, Victoria, or anywhere in Australia. Content in this article related to regulations or legislation of GPS trackers is not to be taken as legal advice.