A Christchurch bar owner may challenge a ruling from the privacy commissioner that cameras in public toilets can breach the privacy of customers, saying it is ''not a one-size-fits-all scenario''.
The judgment follows a complaint from a man to the commission about being filmed using a urinal at a pub by a closed-circuit television camera.
The man made the complaint under a principle in the Privacy Act, and commissioner Marie Shroff ruled the camera was ''capturing highly sensitive information in an unreasonably intrusive manner".
The pub manager removed the camera after talking it over with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.
However, Dux Live general manager Ross Herrick, who drew controversy in August for having a security camera in the male toilets at his Addington premises, said the cameras were crucial in stemming vandalism and violence.
''We've stopped two assaults because of the cameras,'' he said.
''Had we not stopped it, who knows what would have happened?''
The camera was programmed so there was a ''blacked-out'' strip between a person's lower back and knees, and it could not view inside the stalls.
Herrick said he had had no complaints about the camera since it was introduced.
''It's about safety. It's there for that fact first and foremost, and the fact I can see who's damaging our property in there is a side issue.''
Herrick said he would be interested in speaking with the privacy commissioner to see ''if it is actually intrusive''.
''It's not a one-size-fits-all scenario. We're not the first [with cameras] and I'd be surprised if we were the last,'' he said.
The Kaikoura District Council came under fire in 2010 after a journalist claimed a camera was filming people doing their personal business.
Neale McMillan took his protest to Parliament, arguing that having a camera in the toilet breached privacy standards that were being explored by the Law Commission.
Council engineer Gallo Saidy said at the time that the camera did not photograph people sitting on the toilets and was installed after thefts, vandalism and congregations of youths in the toilets.
The council refused to get rid of the camera and later agreed to a police request to install additional security cameras overlooking the town.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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