13.1 In this chapter, the ALRC proposes that surveillance device laws and workplace surveillance laws should be made uniform throughout Australia.

13.2 Existing surveillance device laws in each state and territory provide criminal offences for the unauthorised use of listening devices, optical surveillance devices, tracking devices, and data surveillance devices. These surveillance device laws provide important privacy protection by creating offences for unauthorised surveillance.

13.3 However, there is significant inconsistency between the laws with respect to the types of devices regulated and with respect to the offences, defences and exceptions. This inconsistency results in reduced privacy protections for individuals, and increased uncertainty and compliance burdens for organisations.

13.4 Additionally, the ALRC proposes that surveillance device laws make provision for courts to award compensation to victims of breaches of surveillance device laws. The ALRC has also asked whether local councils should be empowered to regulate the use of surveillance devices in some circumstances. Council regulation may be more appropriate for less serious uses of surveillance devices.