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Intimate covert filming bill introduced

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
12 April 2005
Media Statement

Intimate covert filming bill introduced

Making, publishing or distributing voyeuristic material recorded without consent will carry a penalty of up to three years' jail under new legislation introduced to Parliament today by Justice Minister Phil Goff.

The Intimate Covert Filming Bill will also carry a penalty of up to one year's jail for knowingly possessing such material without reasonable cause.

"A Law Commission study last year concluded that existing laws do not provide an effective response to the increasing incidence of voyeuristic covert filming," Mr Goff said.

"This Bill will make it an offence to surreptitiously film intimate situations involving nudity, partial nudity, or sexual or other intimacy where people would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

”Filming under people's clothing, or invading their privacy by covertly recording them in toilets, changing sheds or in their homes is totally unacceptable.

"It is a modern form of peeping and peering, made worse by technology such as cell phone cameras and computers that make it simple to record and distribute what is observed.

"International research also shows a correlation between voyeurism and sexual offending, and that it may be a 'gateway' offence to more serious offending.

"This Bill will enable Police to use their powers of search and seizure to immediately investigate the source of images discovered on the Internet."

Mr Goff said the Bill was consistent with action taken overseas. The United States and the United Kingdom had laws in place, while Canada and New South Wales were also considering a similar legislation.

Later this year Cabinet will consider Privacy Act amendments that would allow victims of covert filming to seek redress against offenders, as recommended by the Law Commission's report.

ENDS

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