The Privacy Commissioner has provided guidance to an employer following a complaint by one of its volunteers that surveillance cameras were recording audio.

The volunteer discovered that the surveillance cameras in their workplace recorded audio in addition to video recordings. None of the signs warning about the cameras stated that audio was also being recorded.

They raised their concerns with management but nothing was done about the cameras. The Volunteer resigned and laid a complaint with the Commissioner.

The Commissioner agreed with the volunteer and explained that if someone (businesses or people) collects personal information, they should take reasonable steps to make sure others are aware of what is being collected.

Additionally, information may not be collected in an unfair or unlawful way. Covert audio recording on surveillance cameras is unfair due to individuals not suspecting or being aware their conversations are being recorded.

In response to the Commissioner’s recommendations, the employer disabled most of its camera’s audio recording features, and erected warnings where cameras still recorded audio.

The law protects how and why a person’s information is collected, stored, and accessed. If there are concerns surrounding the collection and handling of personal information, it is wise to consult an experienced professional in the area.