A bar in Christchurch, New Zealand has installed a security camera in its bathrooms to discourage thieves and vandals. But its bid to protect its property may have landed Dux Live bar in trouble after it posted two men apparently vandalising a toilet on Facebook.
The bar has only installed one camera in its male toilets, although it also plans to install another one in the female toilets, saying it had “legal approval” to do so.
On Monday night, it uploaded on Facebook photos of two men in the toilets who allegedly vandalised their properties by taking frames off a picture on the wall. General manager Ross Herrick said that they decided to post the pictures on Facebook to shame the men. He had not reported the matter to the police since it was “trivial.”
“But it’s not about the money – it’s about the blatant vandalism,” he told NZ Herald.
“Just to clarify... there are signs stating there is a ’24 hour video Survailance’ within the venue and all cameras are police approved and, more importantly, certified courts admissable as evidence if and when required, lets hope we never need to head that way,” (sic) Mr Herrick explained on Facebook when the bar’s page was flooded with comments about the photos.
“We do not apologise for trying to simply look after our guest and friends as the same cameras, some might complain about, have also provided valuable information regarding assaults, theft and customer safety, often without our guests knowledge,” he continued.
“If you are someone, and I don’t think anyone here is, who doesn’t appreciate what we’re attempting then, perhaps you might want to try somewhere else.”
But according to privacy lawyer Kathryn Dalziel, Dux Live crossed the line when it uploaded the photos online.
“If the purpose [of having CCTV] is to help police, then the purpose is not to put them up on Facebook but to give it to the police,” Ms Dalziel was quoted by the Star Canterbury.
There’s a possibility that the men who were photographed would file legal action against the bar for defamation as well or take a case to the Privacy Commissioner.
“They had better be 100 per cent that these two did what they say,” the attorney said.
“I am not against filming in general but they have to prove the tests. In this case it is to provide the information for police, make customers more safe and hold people who are committing wilful damage to account. So how does filming and putting that on Facebook help the police?
“How am I more safe unless they have someone watching the camera at the time it is happening?”
Mr Herrick gave in a little, saying they will not put up photos on Facebook if they are told not to do so by his legal adviser, but “we are not taking out the cameras.”
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