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QLD Privacy Laws - Obtaining Contact Information of 17-Year-Olds?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by KTW, 5 September 2016.

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  1. KTW

    KTW Member

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    I work in a retail store. The in-store contract security observed two 17-year-old people use a product without purchasing it. There are multiple signs around the store stating our policy that payment is required for any items used or opened without purchase. He advised our on duty supervisor who explained to them the store's right to seek payment for the product, but under the circumstances would not be seeking payment (due to various factors such as the type of product, amount used, no damage to product, etc).

    The supervisor explained to them that security would take their contact details to be used as verification of any future repeat offenses, in which case payment would be sought or a ban notice issued to prevent them returning to the store.

    What are our rights under privacy laws in obtaining this contact information - name and address only - to verify repeat offenders, particularly as they are 17 years?

    This information is not copied or provided to any third party unless police action is required
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    You have no rights to obtain name and address. They have to do it voluntarily. You can take their photos.

    The other option is to arrest them for theft. Many people, especially youths don't realise their actions constitute theft. At 17 though they are not all mature and maybe all they need is a good fright to straighten them out.
     
  3. Victoria S

    Victoria S Well-Known Member

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    In terms of personal information you have collected, your business will be required to follow its policies under the Privacy Act if it turns over more than $3mil a year or is related to an entity that does.

    The privacy principles set out in that act prescribe how certain organisations must handle, use and manage personal information - such as keeping it securely etc. Australian Privacy Principles| Office of the Australian Information Commissioner - OAIC

    However I don't think you would be able to force them to give you their personal information. Security guards have no more powers than ordinary citizens. They have no power to search or question a person and may NOT:
    • search a person unless they agree (even when it is a condition of entry to a shop, etc);
    • arrest a person unless they see them commit a crime;
    • detain a person unless they see them commit a crime;
    • force a person to sign anything;
    • force a person to go anywhere unless they are detaining them until police arrive;
    • force someone to be photographed; or
    • use excessive force.
    They can however ban a person from coming into a shopping centre.

    You would have to be careful what you did with the information - obviously naming and shaming people like shoplifters is out of the question as it leaves you open to defamation actions.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I agree with the above.
    There is no power available to either the store operator or the security provider
    to compel them to provide any details.
    In any event, the only reason you're asking is to intimidate them out of future similar conduct.
    Nah, you don't get to do that.
    I disagree.
    Outside of anything you get on "general" security footage,
    I don't see how you can require them to be photographed without their consent.
    For example, if you try and make them "stand here while I photograph you",
    then you are almost certainly unlawfully detaining them.

    What about if you photograph them candidly while, say, they are sitting in somebody's office?
    Well, if I was their defending lawyer, then I would be looking at civil action against both
    your employer and the security provider, and each of their the individual staff jointly and severally
    for tortious false imprisonment and tortious assault.
     
    Rod likes this.
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Tim, photos also have to done with consent or incidental to other lawful situation (eg taking photos as they are walking out without impeding them).

    Thanks for the clarification Tim. I certainly didn't mean they could do a forced photo shoot!
     
  6. KTW

    KTW Member

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    Thank you for your input. They were in no way forced to remain on the property or detained in any way. CCTV does operate, with signage displayed. They were not forced to divulge their information - they were not prevented from leaving or threatened in any way; they were actually closest to the exit.

    The incident reports and any information gathered is secured in a locked cabinet in a locked room which is also monitored by CCTV. Only security has access to these files, with access logged. Information is only referenced if required by police or to identify repeat offenders. And as an aside, we have a strict policy on photography in our store, staff and security included: it's not on.
     
  7. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    Only security has access to those files?
    I don't think so. It's your shop, you want unfettered access to that locked room and everything in it.
     
  8. KTW

    KTW Member

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    Meaning it is a room that has no public access and staff have no general access, they require permission etc.

    Yes, owners/manager do have access to all areas & keys to all locked areas. My main concern is balancing our rights to protect our property with the rights of people who enter the property and do the wrong thing, especially those who may be under 18.

    Teenagers actually pose a huge threat in terms of loss and damage. Not that there are hordes of teens rampaging and pillaging, but it would be great to be sure what we can and can't do.
     

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