My mini bar is spying on me

A recent article in Wired discusses the challenges the US Supreme Court is facing in deciding whether the use of GPS tracking devices by the US government should require a warrant.

The article and the case raise numerous issues about privacy, the creeping nature of technology and the way in which many of us have impliedly consented to waive much of our privacy through the use of social media and the like. The author also points to the fact that so many everyday devices we take for granted – such as a hotel mini bar – could also be invading our privacy.

In Australia, with no all pervasive Fourth Amendment to consider, the general legal position is that there is no common law right to privacy (as opposed to rights created by legislation such as the Privacy Act). However the High Court made some positive noises in a 2002 decision concerning the ABC and a possum processing factory (yes, you read that correctly the first time) and one Queensland District Court Judge was brave enough to stick his head about the parapet and find such a cause of action existed in a 2003 civil case involving stalking.

So, as with many things, the law continues to develop and as technology continues to play a larger part in our life, it is conceivable that courts will find safeguards necessary to protect plaintiffs’ privacy.