It is a global trend. More and more drivers around the world decide to put a small HD camera connected to a memory card (dashcam) inside their cars to record everything that happens while behind the wheel. The objective is to use these images as evidence in the event of a fine or accident and to clear up any doubts in a future judicial process.
These devices, which can be found on the market for less than 100 euros, began to become popular in countries with a high accident rate, such as Russia where their use is not only legal, but is also mandatory to reduce fraud attempts at companies. insurance companies and debug responsibilities. In fact, these gadgets They have become very famous for nourishing social networks with hundreds of viral videos in which shocking crashes and traffic violations of all kinds can be seen.
In Spain there are no specific regulations that prevent or punish carrying a dashcam in the car. However, being on the border between private recordings and video surveillance, their use can lead to significant penalties, depending on how and where they are located. This is demonstrated by a recent resolution of the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) that fined a neighbor of Toledo with 1,500 euros who installed one of these devices in the back of his car, focusing on the road.
According to the sanctioning file, it was a Civil Guard patrol that detected the presence of a recording device in the trunk of the car when it was parked on the public highway. Specifically, it was a 360-degree camera from the Xiaomi My Home Security brand that can be controlled with an application and viewed images directly from a mobile phone.
Taking into account the report and the photographic report provided by the agents of the Benemérita, the AEPD considers it proven that the defendant had a video surveillance system inside his car aimed at the public space “without just cause” and that, therefore , breached article 5.1 of the General Data Protection Regulation (RGPD). This precept establishes, in essence, that the personal data captured by any type of recording system will be “adequate, pertinent and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed”.
In this sense, the AEDP argues that the control of traffic and public space is the exclusive competence of the State Security Forces and Bodies and, although it recognizes the right of any person to capture images in the street, it understands that doing so in a continued violates the right to privacy of pedestrians. Especially when there is no specific reason, as happened in this case.
The letter recalls that any camera on board must be oriented “preferably towards the particular space. That is to say, towards the interior of the car, avoiding “controlling traffic areas”. On the other hand, it indicates that all persons who may be recorded with an informational poster must necessarily be warned, even in the case of “simulated” or dissuasive cameras, since “they may feel intimidated.” Two requirements that apparently collide with the purpose for which these devices are normally installed: to record what is happening on the road and reveal the identity of those drivers or pedestrians who commit illegalities.
Violations of the RGPD carry fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of turnover, in the event that the offender is a company. However, in the present file, the president of the AEDP, Mar España, clarifies that given the seriousness of the events “it is considered appropriate to impose an initial penalty of 1,500 euros, located on the lowest scale for this type of behavior.” Against the resolution now there is a judicial appeal through contentious-administrative means.
The General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) warns in a recent report that the manipulation of the daschcam With the car in motion, it is an infringement of article 11 of the Highway Code, which forces the driver to be attentive to the road. Like other types of distractions at the wheel, such as making a phone call, entering an address into the GPS or tuning the radio, setting up a recording device is a distraction and a serious risk of suffering an accident sanctioned with 200 euros and 3 points from the driving license. In addition, based on that same article, the driver can be fined up to 100 euros if it is found that the location of the camera hinders his field of vision or supposes an interference for driving.