There are no Australian Federal Laws for surveillance and GPS tracker legality.
However, most states have Statutes covering the use and restrictions of tracking devices; only Queensland and Tasmania do not have legislation.
Both New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory have formal statutes and it’s highly likely that the rest of Australia will follow suit, adopting similar measures.
Keeping this in mind for those operating nationally, read below for some advice on how you can comply and references to be able to do your own research.
The NSW Workplace Surveillance act is an example of an official standard you can read to learn more about the subject.
Consent – The Key to GPS Tracker Legality
Generally, the use of a GPS vehicle tracking device to track and record employees’ activities intentionally without their consent is a criminal offence.
Consent, express or implied, of all parties involved is a necessity to remain on side with the law.
The underlying theme with all the surveillance statutes that currently exist is to obtain consent from the employees that will be surveilled, prior to using gps tracking devices . This consent by employees can be express or implied.
Obtaining express consent is possible where the employee receives notification about the use of a gps tracking device. The employee will need to accept this in the form of an employee contract or through a new policy.
Implied consent may include passive acceptance. The employee is made aware about the use of a GPS tracking device but may not respond in acceptance. A vehicle that has a label outlining that it is being tracked may be suitable for the requirements of implied consent if the employee then proceeds to use the vehicle.
Requirements for Employee GPS Tracking Across Australian States
- New South Wales
- Workplace Surveillance Act 2005
- Western Australia
- Surveillance Devices Act 1998
- Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (VIC)
- Australian Capital Territory
- Workplace Privacy Act 2011 (ACT)
- Northern Territory
- Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NT)
- Does not currently exist. (QLD)
- Legislation does not exist (TAS)
NSW GPS Tracker Legality Workplace Surveillance Act (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory also similar)
- 2 weeks written notice will need to be provided before GPS tracking will start. Information such as type of surveillance, data collection methods and timeframe will need to be provided. Within this notice, the following must be stated:
- The type of surveillance that will be carried out (GPS tracking)
- The methods used to obtain this surveillance (via the installation of a GPS tracking device)
- Commencement date of surveillance
- Whether the surveillance will be indefinite or sporadically
- If the period of surveillance will be for a limited time or ongoing
- Visible signage stating that a device is being tracked.
- Restrictions on the placement of the devices and use of data collected:Work surveillance only allowed when the employee is ‘at work’
- Records of surveillance must not be shared or provided to any other parties unless the use is for, or related to business activities that are legitimate, subpoena to the police, or any potential threat that could result in violence.
Western Australia, The Surveillance Devices Act from 1998
- Employee must agree & consent to the surveillance and installation of GPS tracking devices
- The maximum penalty for violation is $50,000
- Private conversations must not be recorded; whether it be intentional or unintentional via camera or listening devices.
Victoria, The Surveillance Device Act of 1999
- Implied or express content must be given by the Employee.
- GPS surveillance data must not be shared unless it is for the protection of the employer’s lawful business.
Northern Territory, Surveillance Devices ACT 2007
- Refer to the NT surveillance device act
GPS Tracking is legal in in many Australian states, so long as you abide by the rules set by each states acts.
There current acts are for the states of NSW, QLD & VIC.