NSW Required Privacy at Strata Meeting?

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karen Denny

Member
6 December 2018
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Strata meetings are deemed a private meeting and so are not permitted to be recorded unless all present agree. We have one owner who has recorded meetings without our knowledge at the time. The owner now states it’s because of her hearing and believes we are discriminating against herself by not allowing her to record the meeting.

The owners have advised her she can bring a scribe. When the owners at the strata meeting found out she had recorded us, we asked why. That is when she declared a hearing issue

She participated in the previous meetings verbally and writing notes. Where do we stand? Does the privacy act override the perceived discrimination, or does it go the other way around?

We have given suggestion for other methods of taking the information, minutes are always taken and sent to owners, she has participated in the meetings on previous occasions without anyone thinking there was a hearing issue


Help please
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
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What State are you in?

State laws largely apply to these circumstances.
 

Scruff

Well-Known Member
25 July 2018
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NSW
Firstly, the relative legislation is the Surveillance Devices Act, which prohibits recording private conversations. There are exceptions, one being recording for personal use, which is what would apply here.

Recording for personal use is legal as long as she does not communicate or publish any information obtained from those recordings with any person who was not a party to the conversation.

In regard to having a hearing problem - it is not a valid argument. The Surveillance Devices Act defines a listening device as follows:

"listening device means any device capable of being used to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a conversation or words spoken to or by any person in conversation, but does not include a hearing aid or similar device used by a person with impaired hearing to overcome the impairment and permit that person to hear only sounds ordinarily audible to the human ear."​

In short, a "recording device" is not a "hearing aid or similar device" and it does not help a person to "overcome the impairment and permit that person to hear only sounds ordinarily audible to the human ear." While it allows playback at a later date, it does not assist in overcoming any hearing defect at the time the conversation takes place. A recording device therefore does not qualify as a "hearing aid or similar device".

So while her reasoning is not valid, what she is doing is actually legal as long as she doesn't disclose any information to any third parties.