Recording a meeting: the law in NSW

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Recording a meeting may seem to be a beneficial task given the changing nature of meetings which have transitioned to online mediums, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and Google Hangouts. However, it is important to know the Law surrounding recording a meeting, as well as the monitoring of a computer or device.

 

Recording a meeting in NSW

According to section 7 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) (‘the Act’) a person must not knowingly install, maintain or use a listening device to overhear, record, monitor, or listen to a private conversation.

A ‘private conversation’ is one which, in the circumstances, may reasonably be intended to be listened to only by those involved in the conversation or other people who have the consent of all participants to listen.

A private conversation is also one where the parties might ought to reasonably expect that it will not be overheard by someone else.

It is important to note that a listening device does not include a hearing aid or similar device used by a person with impaired hearing.

Therefore, if a meeting is being held between colleagues in the privacy of their home, and recording a meeting takes place without the knowledge of the other participants, it could be deemed as ‘private conversation’ under the Act and therefore constitute a criminal offence.

 

Further, it is not an offence if:

  • Both parties consent to the recording, or
  • The principal party consents to a listening device being used, and recording the conversation is reasonably necessary for the protection of the lawful interests of that principal party or is not made for the purpose of communicating or publishing the conversation, or a report of the conversation, to persons who are not parties to the conversation. The ‘principal party’ is the person by, or to whom words are spoken in the course of the conversation.
  • A private conversation is heard unintentionally by means of a listening device.

 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment, and/or a $11,000 fine.

 

Can I monitor someones computer or device?

Like listening devices, section 10 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) prohibits the installation or use of a data tracking device to record or monitor the input or output of information from a computer. This is only an offence if it interferes with the computer or a computer network on the premises without the consent of the person having lawful possession or lawful control of the computer or computer network.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment, and/or a $11,000 fine.

 

Can I publish or communicate private conversations or recording of a meeting?

Under section 11 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW), a person must not publish or communicate to any person, a private conversation or a record of the carrying on of an activity (including recording a meeting), or a report of a private conversation or carrying on of an activity, that has come to the person’s knowledge as a result of the use of a listening device, an optical surveillance device or a tracking device in contravention of a provision of this Part.

 

The maximum penalty for this offence is 5 years imprisonment, and/or a $11,000 fine.

 

If you or someone you know needs advice or representation for an alleged criminal offence, contact the team at Hamilton Janke Lawyer 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 4038 1666.

 

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