Legal advice

LEGAL ADVICE RE IMPLEMENTATION OF SMART BADGES

Summary

Members have expressed concerns about Australia Post trialling the use of Smart Badges in its facilities.  In particular, members have raised concerns with the CWU Victorian P+T branch that the use of Smart Badges does not comply with the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic).

Your branch has responded to members’ concerns by seeking legal advice, including about the lawfulness of:

  • the use of the Smart Badges under the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) and the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth); and
  • the collection, use and disclosure of information collected by the Smart Badges under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)

In summary, the legal advice is that:

  • The Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (Vic) is unlikely to prevent the use of the Smart Badges in the workplace.  This is because this Act only regulates employers’ use of optical surveillance devices, listening devices and tracking devices. The badges are not any of these, and instead fall within the definition of “data surveillance device”.  Data surveillance devices are not subject to controls in this Act when used by employers (as opposed to law enforcement officers, whose use of data surveillance devices is controlled by s 9).
  • The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) does apply to Australia Post and its collection, use and/or disclosure of the information collected by the badges.  Australia Post is entitled to collect, use and disclose the information to identify close contacts for outbreak management or contact tracing purposes.  However, it would not be entitled to use or rely on any information collected by the badges for discipline, performance monitoring or other secondary purposes.

Leroy Lazaro
Secretary Communication Workers Union
Victorian P+T branch