Are Thermal Cameras Legal?

Are Thermal Cameras Legal?

Thermal cameras have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a unique perspective by capturing and visualising heat signatures. These innovative devices have found valuable applications across various industries, providing insights and enhancing safety measures. But are thermal cameras legal in New Zealand? 

The use of thermal cameras has gained traction in fields such as building and construction, electrical inspections, HVAC systems, and energy audits. By detecting temperature variations and converting them into visible images, thermal cameras enable professionals to identify heat loss, electrical faults, insulation issues, and other anomalies with efficiency and accuracy. To ensure the responsible use of this technology, individuals and businesses operating thermal cameras in New Zealand need to be aware of the legal landscape. By understanding the specific regulations and adhering to them, professionals can harness the full potential of thermal imaging technology while ensuring compliance with the law.

Thermal cameras have found significant use in multiple industries. Building and construction professionals utilise them to identify thermal leaks, insulation gaps, and structural defects, enabling energy-efficient designs and improving building quality. Electrical inspections benefit from thermal cameras as they enable non-contact detection of electrical faults, reducing the risk of accidents and system failures. HVAC systems benefit from thermal cameras by optimising performance, identifying blockages, detecting air leaks, and conserving energy.


Thermal Imaging Camera in use.


The growing popularity of thermal cameras in these industries is driven by their ability to uncover hidden issues, enhance safety, improve efficiency, and save costs. Complying with the legal landscape surrounding thermal camera use in New Zealand ensures the responsible application of this technology. In New Zealand, the use of thermal cameras is governed by specific laws and regulations to ensure their lawful and responsible application. Thermal imaging regulations aim to strike a balance between harnessing the benefits of thermal imaging technology and protecting individual privacy rights.


Privacy Act 2020 


The Privacy Act 2020 plays a crucial role in governing the use of thermal cameras. It sets guidelines for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, including thermal imaging data. It emphasises the importance of obtaining consent, handling personal data securely, and respecting individuals' privacy rights.


The Crimes Act 1961 also addresses the legal considerations related to thermal imaging. It focuses on offences related to surveillance, including the unlawful interception of private communications. This act ensures that thermal cameras are not used for unauthorised surveillance or activities that infringe upon privacy rights.


Additionally, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 has implications for the use of thermal cameras in certain industries. This act promotes the health and safety of workers and others in the workplace. Thermal cameras can be utilised as part of health and safety protocols to identify potential hazards, monitor conditions, and improve safety measures.


​​When using thermal cameras in New Zealand, it is important to consider the legal implications. Privacy protection is paramount, as thermal imaging can reveal personal information. Obtaining consent or having a legal basis is necessary for conducting thermal imaging in private areas or where privacy is expected. Data protection is also crucial, as thermal imaging data may be classified as personal information. Organisations must handle and store this data securely, complying with data protection regulations. Lastly, ensure that thermal cameras are used for lawful purposes, such as building inspections and maintenance, to avoid any violations of privacy laws.


Testo offers a range of high-quality thermal cameras designed to meet the diverse needs of industries and professionals. These cameras are known for their advanced technology, reliability, and user-friendly features. Here are a few popular models:


The Testo 883 is a high-resolution thermal imaging camera that offers exceptional image quality and precise thermal analysis. With its advanced features and user-friendly design, this camera is an ideal tool for professionals seeking detailed thermal imaging capabilities. It provides clear and sharp thermal images, allowing for accurate temperature assessment and identification of thermal anomalies.


High-Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera - Testo 883


The Testo 865 is a reliable and versatile thermal imaging camera designed for accurate temperature measurements and thermal analysis. With its clear and detailed thermal images, user-friendly interface, and compact design, it is an essential tool for professionals in various industries. Whether for building inspections, electrical maintenance, or HVAC troubleshooting, the Testo 865 delivers exceptional thermal imaging performance in a durable and portable package.


Thermal Imaging Camera - Testo 865


Testo thermal cameras offer exceptional image quality, user-friendly interfaces, versatile applications, and durability. With detailed thermal images, accurate analysis, and reliable performance, these cameras provide valuable insights into various industries. They feature intuitive controls and large displays for convenient operation and data interpretation. 


High-Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera Display - Testo 883


With different levels of thermal resolution and sensitivity, Testo cameras cater to specific requirements. Equipped with advanced analysis tools, they enable detailed assessments and identification of anomalies. These rugged cameras deliver consistent performance, contributing to improved efficiency and cost savings.


High-Resolution Thermal Imaging Camera - Testo 883

In this blog, we explored the topic of thermal cameras and their legality in New Zealand. We began by introducing thermal cameras and highlighting their growing popularity and usefulness in various industries. We then delved into the legal considerations surrounding thermal cameras, including an overview of New Zealand laws and regulations, specific legal considerations related to thermal imaging, and clarification on the permissible uses of thermal cameras in the country. Lastly, we provided an overview of popular Testo thermal cameras, outlining their key features and benefits.


It is important to emphasise that thermal cameras are legal in New Zealand when used in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. The Privacy Act 2020, Crimes Act 1961, and Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 provide a legal framework for the responsible use of thermal cameras. By respecting privacy rights, obtaining consent when necessary, handling data securely, and complying with industry-specific requirements, individuals and businesses can confidently use thermal cameras in various applications while ensuring legal compliance.


We encourage readers to explore the vast potential uses of thermal cameras in their respective industries. Thermal imaging technology offers valuable insights, enabling energy-efficient designs, improved safety measures, and significant cost savings. However, it is essential to consult with professionals, such as thermal imaging experts or legal advisors, to understand specific requirements, obtain proper training, and ensure compliance with the relevant guidelines and regulations.