Recording Devices in the Digital Age


Social Media Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

In April 2018, the ABC published an article with respect to a photo taken in early March of a couple kissing on the Woody Point Jetty in Queensland.

The ABC article ( discussed the legal ramifications of taking photos of others without consent. It discussed the laws applicable to the issue from an everyday perspective.

There are in fact two Queensland Acts of Parliament that deal with the taking of photographs or making recordings without the permission of the person/s depicted. Section 227A of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 creates an offence of observations or recordings in breach of privacy. Furthermore Section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld) 1971 creates an offence with respect to the prohibited use of listening devices.

Section 227A of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld)

Section 227A of the Criminal Code, creates an offence where a person visually records another, in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy – without the person’s consent and when the other person is in a private place or is engaged in a private act and the recording is made for the purpose of recording a private act.

Whilst the offence carries a maximum penalty of only two years imprisonment, the consequences to a person charged with such an offence, whereby a conviction may be recorded, could be devastating. It is noteworthy that the section imposes an abridged version of the reasonable person test, namely, that the recording must not be in circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy. The test is different from the “reasonable person test” as a reasonable adult is superimposed irrespective of the subject of the recordings being a child who may be unfazed by being recorded.

Whilst the photo depicting the couple kissing on the Woody Point Jetty could not be said to have been taken in circumstances where that couple could reasonably expect to have been afforded privacy, one would wonder as to whether or not a more intimate action would come within the definition of section 227A of the Criminal Code.

Section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act (Qld)

Section 43 of the Invasion of Privacy Act prohibits a person using a listening device to record, monitor or listen to a private conversation. It does not apply where a person is a party to such a conversation, or to circumstances where the recording is unintentional.

The definition as provided by Section 4 of the Act includes a device capable of being used to record or listen to a private conversation. Section 43 does not provide a qualification of a party holding a reasonable expectation of being afforded privacy. The definition applying to an audio recording is therefore broader than offered by Section 227 of the Criminal Code.

Practitioners should be mindful when advising clients of the use of dash camera footage where a camera captures audio, as well as visual footage. An obvious grey area would arise where an UBER driver utilises a dash camera to record video and audio for insurance purposes, but then desires to use the recording for another purpose. A driver uploading a video file including audio of a conversation had between two passengers could well find themselves in breach of sections 43 and 44 of the Invasion of Privacy Act.

Written by: Terry Morgans

This article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require further information, advice or assistance for your specific circumstances, please contact the Fisher Dore team.


left arrow round - Fisher Dore LawyersRight

Fisher Dore Lawyers have to be the best criminal lawyers in Queensland.


Great law firm. Technically brilliant, and focused on achieving the outcome that the client wants... and achieving it as quickly as possible.

Josh - Facebook Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Excellent representation - solid advice - great outcome.

Michael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Highly recommended. Real people. Respectful.

Sylvia - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I’ve prosecuted against Nick Dore and I’m a fan of his work. If I ever needed a Defence solicitor in my corner, I’d choose him... what can I say, the man is brilliant.

Acts1power - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Fisher Dore are Brisbane’s best law firm. Honest, genuine and (most importantly) competent lawyers who will help you achieve justice. I give them 10/10.

Moreish Food - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Long term professional association. Established credibility and integrity. A pleasure to be involved in multidisciplinary team work in benefitting clients.

Alec - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

The only law firm I trust!

Kimberley - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Friendly and professional. Highly recommend the team. Approachable and non-judgemental with a passion and extensive knowledge of what they do.

Rachael - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

This firm was so easy to talk to, compassionate, reliable and 100% hardworking. Thanks so much.

Mich - Google Review

We can't express how grateful we are for all your kindness, support and generosity during this difficult time. With sincere thanks.

Thank you Fisher Dore for all you have done to release the burden we have been living with...well done.

Just want to say thank you for all your help and effort you have put in. You go above and beyond. I appreciate everything you and your team have done for me in helping better my life!

Thanks again…for going above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. I am so grateful I can now get on the right track and move forward with my life.

Thank-you for all the hard work you have put into my case and your continued support throughout the last few months. I appreciate everything you have done for me.

Thank you for fighting for me and for doing such a great job. Please pass on my gratitude to the team.

Thank you for your compassion, dedication and hard work throughout this difficult time. This has been life changing for me and I can't imagine how I would have got through this without your support, professionalism and expertise. I'm so grateful for your efforts and the great work you did on my behalf. Thanks again for going above and beyond, and doing everything you could to win my case.

I just wanted to put into writing, just how profoundly grateful I am for the sound advice & skilful representation you provided. The outcome you secured for me was better than I could have dared to wish for. I owe you a debt of gratitude.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

I personally have known Mr Fisher for 20 years and in my opinion this firm is by far the best representation in Brisbane city and surrounding districts! My first pick always and best results from both Mr Fisher and Mr Dore and their team!! Thanks guys.

Mohammed - Google Review

I just wanted to say thank you very much for your handling of my case. I am very pleased with the outcome as well as your professionalism in communication and encouragement in my difficult time. Once again, thank you very much.

I want to thank you for looking after us both in a legal sense and in your sense of care. This has been enormously stressful. Having your diligent professionalism was greatly reassuring.

You will always be known to me and my family as the person who gave us the biggest gift we could ever want. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you so much for your amazing work. You have made a compelling argument for me and I believe my application was successful only because of your excellent work. You have always been very professional, punctual and provided me with accurate advice at all times. I am extremely grateful that I had you as my lawyer.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Strongly recommend if you would like the best chance at freedom.

Alex - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Thank you to the wonderful and professional team at Fisher Dore Lawyers. The experience you brought to the table was nothing but excellent, achieving an amazing result.

Andrew - Google Review
5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

When you want the best this is the number you call. They do it right the first time. Thanks Nick.

Dale - Google Review

We cannot thank you enough for the amazing outcome; it was so much better than we could have hoped for. Having a highly skilled professional such as yourself was so beneficial, thank you again.

5 star icon - Fisher Dore Lawyers

Professional but caring! Very informative and assisted in navigating me calmly through a very stressful situation. Very experienced. Highly recommend.

Close popup tab