Legislative Council: Thursday, March 23, 2023


Mobile Phone Detection Cameras

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (14:57): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding mobile phone detection cameras and privacy issues surrounding them.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: Members will be aware that the state government is currently conducting a three-month trial of mobile phone detection cameras here in South Australia. Normally, these issues of course would be more relevant for the Minister for Police, but there are a number of issues with respect to privacy that I think the Attorney would be interested in as well: specifically an incident in New South Wales where a review is being conducted currently into mobile phone detection cameras following an incident where one such camera captured an unfortunate image up the skirt of a young woman as she was on her mobile phone whilst driving. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Is the state government monitoring photos taken by mobile phone detection cameras in South Australia to ensure they do not have the capability of capturing similar compromising images of motorists?

2. If the cameras do capture compromising images of South Australians, would this contravene any of our state's privacy or other laws?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:58): I thank the honourable member for his question. In relation to the images being taken by cameras that are, as I understand it—but I will have to refer specifics to the police minister whose department, SAPOL, is conducting the trial. As I understand it, the cameras are placed on or near traffic lights and it's at those junctures that photographs are taken to detect whether a motorist is on the mobile phone at the time.

I will check and bring back an answer if I'm not correct. My thought is that the actual taking of the photo itself—I can't think of a privacy law that that would breach in using that, though there may be privacy considerations that come into it. But as I said, SAPOL are conducting the trial, so I will absolutely ensure that my colleague the police minister in another place gets a copy of the concerns the honourable member has raised so that they are taken into account in what is still a trial that is, as I understand, being conducted.