The idea of being caught on camera while out in public is an uneasy one for some, but experts say little can be done about it for now.
A Blenheim woman was convicted of wilful damage in court this week, after she broke a phone belonging to a man who was filming her and some friends while they danced in a bar.
Community constable Russ Smith said the use of personal recording devices had become a worldwide phenomenon.
"From a policing perspective it's very obvious to us that whenever we are attending an incident someone will be filming it on some sort of device," he said.
He advised people to use common sense if they felt uncomfortable.
"If you see someone filming in a public place, just approach them and say ‘I know you have a right to take photos, but I would prefer you not to take photos of me'," he said.
He acknowledged that some people would feel as if they shouldn't have to do that, but there were no specific laws or rules banning people from taking such recordings or photos. Subjects could remove themselves from the frame, Smith said.
Privacy lawyer Kathryn Dalziel, a partner of Taylor Shaw law firm in Christchurch, said that legally, little could be done about being filmed in public unless it reached the point where it could be classed as harassment.
"Unfortunately, for just recording people in public, there isn't any protection," she said.
However, there were changes before Parliament that could see tighter rules introduced on what could be classed as harassment, she said.
"It's about to get better for people."
Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said young people tended to have a great expectation of privacy, but in a public place, one would assume being filmed wasn't really a problem, he said.
"People are allowed to legitimately record; if it's for their own use there's no particular legal concern." Issues could arise when the footage or photos were published on websites like YouTube without permission, Cocker said.
"There are a variety of rules and laws that overlap, [but] there's no clear definitive."
Some organisations had made their own rules around the use of personal recording devices.
"People are increasingly conscious of filming in public places and workplaces and stuff, so we're seeing more and more bans in places like hospitals and doctors' [surgeries]."
- The Marlborough Express
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