Covert Filming

Start date
10 December 2003
04 473 3453
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Project Overview

Covert filming of people in intimate situations raises a number of specific privacy issues. As a modern form of voyeurism it also has a sexual dimension. The issue intersects with a number of areas of law, including privacy and censorship as well as the criminal law. These matters are best considered together, and the Minister Responsible for the Law Commission requested the Commission to prepare an advisory paper on the subject.

Terms of Reference 

The Commission is to review issues relating to covert filming and make recommendations as to options for law reform. In particular, the Commission is to consider covert filming involving the taking of a visual record of another person without their approval in situations involving nudity, partial nudity, or physical or bodily intimacy where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the subsequent use of any such record.

We were to produce an advisory report to the Ministry of Justice by 27 February.

The project did not focus on:

  • the wider issues of filming and publishing pictures of celebrities, particularly in public places.
  • The wider issue of a general tort of privacy.
  • Surveillance filming for law enforcement or security purposes or workplace filming (although may need to deal with inappropriate use of any images taken in the course of these activities)