Security cameras too close for comfort?

Cartoon by Holly Rees

Imagine this; you’re trying on some clothing in a changing room, admiring the look in the mirror when you spot a security camera. Looking around, you can see only the planted camera in the reflection of the mirror, but still feel vulnerable.

A recent shop experience in Pukekohe has left some shoppers concerned about the privacy issues relating to cameras that appear to be looking in changing rooms. The shop has undergone interior layout changes, and the fixed cameras that sit on the roof are now in a prime viewing position to prevent shop lifters, but also are a little too close for comfort.

After contacting the franchise, the heads of department assured that the cameras cannot see into the changing rooms, only the entrance of the changing rooms. They say the cameras block out sensitive viewing areas, like changing rooms.

While this was proven correct, is it surely easier, for everyone’s peace of mind to move the camera to a better area that doesn’t give the impression of invading people’s privacy?

Is the reassurance from the heads of department enough?

CCTV cameras are used for surveillance as a means of deterring crime and as long as they are not holding footage there is nothing the consumers can do except not use that particular store’s changing facilities.

What are your thoughts? Send us an email

What the law says:

 The Privacy Commission focus on CCTV systems that are in non-covert, public and semi-public spaces.
In the Privacy Act, principles 10 and 11 say that agencies collection information through CCTV may only use or disclose personal information for the purpose it was collected or for a directly related purpose.
They say that when positioning the cameras, agencies must be sure that they do not collect personal information in a way that will intrude to an unreasonable extent on the privacy of the individual. (principle 4). Using CCTV in bathrooms or change areas is highly likely to breach this principle. Cameras should be configured away from private spaces.
More information on your personal and organisational rights can go to



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