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GPS Tracking legislation

GPS Legislation References

My Buddy Gard sells and provides GPS tracking services globally into any country. Different regions and countries have different laws. 
Use this article as a reference or starting point to find relevant legislation in your country, region, state, territory etc.

Consent – The Key to GPS Vehicle Tracking Laws

The overarching theme with all the surveillance acts in play is to obtain consent from all parties involved prior to using tracking devices to record employee activity. Such employee consent can be express or implied.

Express consent can be obtained where the employee is notified about the use of a tracking device and they accept the decision and its implications. This could be in an employee contract or via a new policy implementation.

Implied consent can include passive acceptance. The employee is notified about the use of a tracking device but may not specifically provide acceptance. A vehicle which has a label explaining that it is being tracked may satisfy the requirements of implied consent if the employee then uses the vehicle.

Australia & New Zealand

You may know the benefits of a GPS tracking system but are you across the GPS vehicle tracking laws in Australia & New Zealand?

With advancements in GPS tracking technology and reduction in costs, companies are increasingly looking to track vehicle and employee movements. This is not only for productivity gains but for employee safety, asset security and improved customer service.

Problems arise with GPS tracking when the topics of employee privacy and surveillance are discussed. Confusion also abounds when employers compare their obligations for occupational/workplace safety (specifically the duty of care requirements) with the surveillance laws. They just don’t seem to be on the same page.

Did you know that for example in Australia the surveillance laws are state based, not federal? This lack of uniformity across the states in relation to GPS vehicle tracking laws allows for many inconsistencies. For example, the types of surveillance devices regulated, the offences, exceptions and possible legal ramifications. This leads to the assumption by many people that GPS tracking is unlawful. As you will see, this is not the case if you implement GPS tracking correctly.

Western Australia

n WA, the Surveillance Devices Act 1998 (WA) lays the ground rules for the use tracking devices. Per the legislation, any type of equipment, instrument, apparatus, or device that can determine geographical location of a person or object at any given time qualifies as a tracking device.

For the most part, GPS tracking is not prohibited in WA. Although, it is illegal to install such a device to determine an employee’s geographical location without their consent.

As a company, if you have contravened any provision of the Act, you could face a fine of up to $50,000*. Just as important, each person who is a director of the company or who is concerned in the management of the company is taken to have contravened the same provision if the person knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention. Individuals may face fines up to $5,000* or 12 months’ imprisonment or both. (Sections 7 and 39).

New South Wales

For NSW, the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 (NSW) is the ruling legislation. Tracking of an employee must not commence without prior notice in writing to the employee. The notice must be given at least 14 days before the surveillance commences. Although, an employee may agree to a lesser period of notice.

In NSW, the law looks to encourage open communication between both parties so businesses will need to discuss with their employees; when it will start, how it works, what type of surveillance is being introduced, and how long it will continue.

Once the GPS tracking is in place, the vehicle itself must also display a notice to show that it is under surveillance.

Companies who conduct covert surveillance unlawfully may face fines of up to $5,500* per offence. Directors and others involved in the management of the company may receive convictions for breaches.

Victoria

Just like WA and NSW, VIC uses their own regulations in the form of the Surveillance Devices Act 1999 (VIC). Once again, a tracking device is described as anything that offers the purpose of determining the geographical location of either an object, in this case a vehicle, or a person.

A company must obtain express or implied consent of an employee before knowingly installing, using or maintaining a tracking device in a company vehicle or asset.

As a company, if you have contravened any provision of the Act, you could face a fine of up to $186,000*. Just as important, each person who is a director of the company or who is concerned in the management of the company is taken to have contravened the same provision if the person knowingly authorised or permitted the contravention. Individuals may face fines up to $37,000* or 2 years’ imprisonment or both. (Sections 8 and 32).

South Australia

While SA does have the Listening and Surveillance Devices Act 1972 (SA) and the term “tracking device” is defined, there is no language in the Act prohibiting or regulating their use either privately or commercially.

Queensland

Queensland has no regulations or legislation in place for the use of GPS tracking devices.

Australian Capital Territory

The Australian Capital Territory has the Workplace Privacy Act 2011 (ACT) in place to govern the use of GPS tracking. The definition and description of the offence is essentially the same as NSW.

Tasmania

Tasmania has no regulations or legislation in place for the use of GPS tracking devices.

Northern Territory

Essentially, the definitions and the descriptions of offences related to GPS tracking in the NT follow the same as NSW. Although this Surveillance Devices Act was only introduced in 2007, it follows the same principles we have seen throughout and highlights the importance of consent among others things.

New Zealand

Aotearoa’s Search and Surveillance Act 2012 defines the GPS tracking, privacy & surveillance laws.

Liability

By using My Buddy Gard Products & Services you agree to all the Privacy Statements and Terms & Conditions outlined throughout My Buddy Gard or any other affiliated websites including to the outlined statements below;

  1. My Buddy Gard watch has an auto-answer function which allows the user to dial in and listen via the app. This function may deem My Buddy Gard watch as a listening device but it does not record or retain any audio recordings.
  2. My Buddy Gard is available in various jurisdictions and does not warrant the legality of this auto-answer function. You may request for this auto-answer function to be permanently disabled by submitting a request with My Buddy Gard.
  3. The user should only use this function after making prudent enquiries and being satisfied that it does not breach any surveillance or privacy laws in the subject jurisdiction. For more information, please refer to the links on this page or obtain independent legal advice.
  4. Users use this auto-answer function at their own risk and assumes all legal responsibility from their actions. In using the auto-answer function, the user indemnifies My Buddy Gard for any loss or damages (including legal fees on an indemnity basis) against all claims, demands, proceedings and actions arising from the misuse of the My Buddy Gard watch or its functions.
  5. Subject to the indemnification provided above, the liability of My Buddy Gard to the user or the watch bearer arising out of the use of the My Buddy Gard watch or its functions shall be limited to the cost of the watch only.