Surveillance Devices Act 2007

Department of Communities and Justice is seeking your views on adding public interest exceptions to sections 11, 12 & 14 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.
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What’s this about?

The Department of Communities and Justice on behalf of the NSW Attorney General is seeking comments on whether changes should be made to the offences in sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 to introduce public interest exceptions. 

Sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Act make it an offence to have, publish, or give someone information or a recording that was obtained by someone using a surveillance device in breach of the law. A surveillance device generally is any equipment that can be used to:

  • record or listen to a conversation, or
  • observe or make a visual record of an activity, or
  • record or monitor the information going in or out of a computer. 

The department is considering whether to add new public interest exceptions to the offences in sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Act. These exceptions could allow a person to use information or a recording obtained from an illegal use of a surveillance device, if it is in the public interest. 

The department welcomes feedback on:

  • whether public interest exceptions should be inserted into sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Act, and 
  • if so, what should be the content of those exceptions.

Any public interest exceptions to ss 11, 12 and 14 will not affect other offences

The Act also includes offences in sections 7, 8, 9 and 10, which restrict the use of surveillance devices such as listening devices, optical surveillance devices, tracking devices and data surveillance devices. The department is not considering adding any public interest exceptions to those offences. 

It is important to note that public interest exceptions to sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Act will not affect other image or recording-based offences, such as ‘performance crime’ in section 154K of the Crimes Act or intimate image-based offences in Division 15C of the Crimes Act.

How to make a submission

This department has prepared a consultation paper that provides information about the offences in the Act, and the public interest exceptions in the surveillance device laws of other Australian states and territories. The paper includes questions to help you consider the different issues and provide your views to the department.

You can download the submission form to record your comments and provide them to the department by either emailing or mailing your completed form to the department as a formal submission. The email and postal addresses are below. 

We may publish comments we receive. If you do not want your comments to be published, please tell us this when you send your comments.

Have your say

Have your say by 22 May 2024.

You can submit your feedback in 2 ways.



10 April 2024 to 22 May 2024

Formal submission

10 April 2024 to 22 May 2024

Address: Director, Law Enforcement and Crime Team, Policy, Reform and Legislation Branch, Department of Communities and Justice, Locked Bag 5000, Parramatta, NSW, 2124.

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