I have a right to privacy? Right?

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I have a right to privacy here? Right?

The short answer is no. There is no implied right to privacy in Australia. I confess to a vested interest. As a (very) amateur photographer I have in the past been asked by other photographers what the privacy situation is in Victoria. Usually when they have been “ordered” to stop taking pictures in public places by a person who has no idea.

This was settled by the High Court in a case called Victoria Park Racing & Recreation Co. Ltd v Taylor.

Taylor was on a tower on an adjacent property to broadcast the results. Victoria Park attempted to have him stop.

The High Court did not recognize the existence of a legal right to privacy. As Latham CJ stated: “With regard to the question of privacy, no doubt the owner of a house would prefer that a neighbour should not have the right of looking into his windows or yard, but neither this court nor a court of law will interfere on the mere ground of invasion of privacy; and a party has a right even to open new windows, although he is thereby enabled to overlook his neighbour’s premises, and so interfering, perhaps, with his comfort”.

Notwithstanding that, there is still the remote possibility of an action for invasion of privacy, but the odd case where damages for invasion of privacy were proved involved very extreme cases.

Returning to my original statements, as long as you are in a public place you can take photographs, unless the conduct amounts to stalking. But be very careful it is a public place, and not for example a private place with public access. In a private place the owners can (and often do) enforce “no photography” rules. Think for example a concert. Also be careful that specific legislation applies. Using another example you cannot photograph inside most rail stations without permission.

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