You may have read in the news recently, a peculiar story about an Uber driver, a phone recording, and morning television presenter, Karl Stefanovic.
Essentially, it had been reported that Karl was having a private phone conversation in the back of his Uber, as many of us do, and made some private reflections on his television co-host.
The Uber driver, seeking to take advantage of his unlikely circumstance, was rumoured to have secretly recorded the conversation, and then attempted to shop the recording to media outlets. He has since denied these accusations. (The Australian)
You see, there is something that would stand in a person’s way should they attempt to sell an audio tape of this type, that is, the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW).
Under section 7 of the act, a person must not knowingly install, use, or maintain a listening device: to overhear, record, monitor, or listen to a private conversation to which the person is not a party.
Further, mere possession of a record of private conversation knowing that it has been obtained, directly or indirectly, by the illegal use of a listening device (as outlined above), carries severe penalties. (section 12, Surveillance Devices Act)
Media outlets, understandably, would be very un-wise to accept an offer to purchase this type of content. On the face of it, the Uber driver, if he had recorded the conversation, would have been wise to delete the records and distance himself from the entire event.
The Uber driver hasn’t, as yet, faced any legal penalty for the incident, and it remains to be seen whether he is charged with any offence. But in an age when surveillance technology is so readily available, its alarming that more can’t be done to ensure the law is upheld.