Data Protection Commission issue legal guidelines on the private use of "dash cams"
Do you use a dash cam?
Plenty of drivers these days have their dashboards fitted with a private camera that records everything on the road in front of them, something that can come in very handy if one ever gets into a road accident.
However, the Data Protection Commission has made it clear that anyone using a dash cam to record road activity has a legal responsibility under EU law to protect the privacy of those people they end up recording.
This month, the DPC published guidelines on how private citizens can use dash cams without violating their legal obligations.
The report notes several key steps that drivers must take if they are using a dash cam.
Most importantly, if you're using a dash cam there should be a clearly visible sign or sticker on and/or inside the vehicle, as applicable, to indicate that filming is taking place.
The guidelines state: "A policy sheet detailing your contact details, the basis on which you are collecting the images and audio of others, the purposes for which the data is being used and how long you will retain it for should be prepared by you and made available on request to anyone who asks for further information. Alternatively, you may provide the information verbally. In the event of an accident, you should advise the other party that you have recorded footage of the accident."
While footage of an accident can be retained for evidentiary purposes as long as is necessary, drivers are instructed to delete other footage routinely and frequently. Drivers are also instructed to be aware of who else has access to the footage that they record.
There is also an obligation to share the video footage with anyone who may feature in it.
"People have a right to access their data," the guidelines state. "If a person is aware that you have a recording of them, they have a right to access that data. You should be able to provide a copy of their data to anyone who requests it, within one month. You should also avoid sharing the data of other people, which may need to be redacted from the footage."
Publication of dash cam footage presents a further legal risk to whomever is controlling the footage: "If you are using a dash cam for security or accident liability purposes, you should be aware that the publication of footage, for example on social media platforms, represents a further processing and risks infringing the privacy rights of recorded individuals and data protection legislation."
The DPC has also warned that it has the power to sanction anyone found to be in breach of the law on these matters.
"If we receive a complaint from an individual in relation to a driver operating a dash cam, where for example the driver has refused to give access to the images when requested, or refused to give information about why they are collecting the data, the DPC will look into the issue.
"Where the DPC identifies infringements of data protection legislation in any sector or scenario, it has powers to sanction, including to apply large administrative fines."
You can read the guidelines in full here.