|Bar Council: No laws regulating use of monitoring equipment|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2012 08:47am|
©The Star (Used by permission)
PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council will study if there is a need for new legislation to purchase video and audio surveillance devices in the country, says its chairman Lim Chee Wee.
He added that although there is no legislation which requires a purchaser to obtain any licence to buy surveillance equipment for personal use, a private agency company would require a licence under Section 2(a) of the Private Agencies Act 1971.
“The same applies to Britain and Australia but in these jurisdictions there is legislation regulating the use of such equipment,” he said.
Lim cited the Australian Listening Devices Act 1984, which prohibits the use of listening devices to record private conversations, without the use of a warrant granted by a judge.
“Under this act, the piece of equipment used to conduct surveillance must fall within a category defined in the legislation.
“These devices include any instrument, apparatus, equipment or device capable of being used to record or listen to a private conversation simultaneously,” he said, adding that the Act also states that a listening device may also have a visual or tracking capacity.
He said Australia also had the Workplace Video Surveillance Act 1998 which regulates the use of video surveillance in the workplace.
“It defines video surveillance as surveillance by a closed-circuit television system or other electronic system for visual monitoring of activities on the workplace.
“It allows video surveillance if the employee has been given prior written notice of the surveillance.
“The surveillance cameras are clearly visible and there are signs notifying people that they may be under surveillance,” he said.
He added that surveillance that does not satisfy these criteria is considered covert video surveillance under the Act and is unlawful unless an authorisation has been issued by a magistrate.
In the United Kingdom, Lim said the Private Security Industry Act 2001 required a Public Space Surveillance (CCTV) licence to be obtained when manned guarding activities are carried out through the use of closed-circuit television equipment.
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