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We answer your questions about GDPR and vehicle camera recording

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Posted on 11th Feb, 2019 by Dominic Benabda

Vehicle cameras and similar technologies make up a large proportion of our business here at Vision Techniques, and in the last six months or so our experts have noticed increasing numbers of questions from our customers on the subject of GDPR. There’s still a lot of confusion about how it affects vehicle cameras and the associated recordings, so that’s what we’re tackling in this week’s post.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation, which is an EU directive that came into force within all EU countries in May of 2018. Put simply, one of its key aims is to give people greater control about how their personal data is collected and processed by businesses, governments and other organisations. As you can imagine, it’s a very wide-ranging set of legislation, so we won’t go into it in exhaustive detail. You can find out more in this key summary of GDPR, or the UK government’s full GDPR guide. And since you’re probably familiar with the basics, one of your next most pressing questions is probably:

How does GDPR affect vehicle CCTV and similar recordings?

The short and simple version is that anyone being recorded by a camera system must be made aware of its presence. This includes the general public, the driver, any other staff and basically anyone else who may come into contact with the vehicle. So if you’re worried that GDPR has now made vehicle cameras and similar technology illegal, it hasn’t. It’s not against the law to own or operate the cameras, you just need to highlight that you are using a recording device.

vehicle camera

How can I make people aware that I’m filming?

You’ll be pleased to hear that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time, effort or expense. The quickest and easiest way is by using signage, which needs to be prominently displayed on the vehicle. This applies not just to external vehicle cameras, but also internal cameras and any audio recording equipment. Your options for signage include:

  • Placing stickers inside the cab to warn drivers and passengers that they’re being recorded
  • Place stickers externally on the vehicle, well within open view, to warn the public that they may be recorded. These stickers need to be visible to anyone who might be in the cameras’ field of vision.

The messages on these stickers should be specific wherever possible. The most frequently used warnings are typically something along the lines of: “this vehicle is equipped with CCTV recording equipment for the purposes of preventing crime and maintaining public safety”. Commercial vehicles such as cash transit vans are often seen to sport these sorts of messages. Certain operators might opt to display the details of the data controller – usually the owner of the camera system – on the outside of the vehicle.

(It’s worth noting that vehicle cameras which are only used to view blind spots – and therefore aren’t recording footage – aren’t relevant to GDPR, so they don’t need warning signage.)

What products are affected by GDPR?

A physical product like a vehicle camera can’t be GDPR compliant because the regulation mainly affects the handling of data and digital information. Really, as long as any recording camera is clearly indicated with signage, what really matters is how the recordings are processed from there.

hgv on road

To avoid falling afoul of GDPR rules, you need to make sure that you’re:

  • not using the footage for anything that’s not been specified in your company policy
  • not keeping the footage for longer than is justifiable
  • using a secure data protection policy that guards the footage from theft or being compromised digitally

This should cover your most pressing questions, but if you have any further ones, we’re only too happy to help here at Vision Techniques. We’ve been innovating with new products and road safety solutions for years, determined to make UK roads safer and easier to navigate. You can browse our road safety technology right here, or give our friendly sales team a call on 08452 873 160.