A business has reached a confidential settlement with a client after the Privacy Commissioner found it had breached her privacy.

The client was in the shop with several others when the manager accused them of shoplifting.

The shop posted a photo from its security camera to social media that showed the woman with two others. The photo was uploaded to a “wall of shame” on the shop’s page.

Police interviewed and charged the two others in the group, but there was no evidence to suggest the woman was involved.

Due to living in a small town, and underlying medical conditions, the suggestion that the woman was a thief caused significant embarrassment and a decline in her health.

The Privacy Commissioner held that the shop did not use the collected personal information from security cameras for its intended purpose. Posting the image to social media in order to cause embarrassment was not consistent with collecting the information for security purposes.

The Commissioner also held that the shop breached the woman’s privacy by disclosing her personal information without a valid reason.

The Commissioner organised a mediation between the parties. A confidential settlement was agreed to and the matter resolved.

It is important to understand the obligations and restrictions around collection and use of other people’s private information. Failing to handle private information appropriately may result in expensive consequences.

If there are concerns around when or how to collect and use other people’s private information, it is wise to speak with a professional experienced in the area.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

Alan Knowsley
Litigation Lawyer