When is it legal to use car camera footage

It is common to watch casual videos over the internet, captured by different types of cameras. Car cameras equipped with advanced technology are now also used for various purposes. However, the disclosure of its content is not entirely allowed or must comply with the laws that govern this activity.


On some occasions, the reckless behavior of some drivers when maneuvering their cars has been recorded by some cameras present on the site. There have also been cases in which mobile phones are used to record, while other drivers perform some risky incidents, in order to take advantage and overtake other cars without thinking about the consequences. 

Similar events are repeated daily, as happened once in Murcia, although, on that occasion, the recording was made by the copilot of the vehicle they were trying to prevent the passage of and has served the authorities to find the whereabouts of the hasty driver and initiate the respective procedure, to establish their responsibility in the event that could lead to worse consequences.

It is easy to use these types of mobile devices that are always at hand to put them to record just at the most ideal moment, to record an event that draws attention, but just as mobile phones can do it, there are also special cameras placed on the market by different manufacturers, which have been designed in order to be fixed in a safe place in the car and record continuously when the vehicle is running. 

Other models, in addition, are used as a security method when the car is parked, to monitor the environment, record the images and go to them in case of theft. 

These types of cameras have already gained some popularity, especially in Russia, where some drivers have chosen to use them in their vehicles, with the intention of having a piece of evidence should they need it. Some have even managed to capture the exact moment in which accidents, amazing situations or dangerous maneuvers occur and many of these recordings have gone viral, since those who make them have been in charge of making them public through social networks.

However, the doubt remains as to whether this type of recordings would really be useful under the law when it is intended to use them to prove and establish guilt or responsibility during an eventual traffic accident, where all those involved have been recorded through the lens of a car camera. According to the opinion of some experts, these records could be valid, although not in all cases, as there are some exceptions in which this type of recordings are not admissible.


Types of recordings

According to some specialists dedicated to this matter, there are different types of cameras whose objective is also different, so the validity of the video to use as evidence would depend on the type of recording and the content of the reproduction that some cameras can capture. Consequently, the use of these records to prove guilt or innocence during an accident largely depends on the motive and the way in which it is planned to make use of these images. Likewise, there are cases where continuous recording or video surveillance cameras are used and others where moving cameras are used. 


Video surveillance

In the cases of the recordings recorded by the video surveillance cameras, which remain on and in continuous recording, while the car is parked and the driver is not inside it, it is the competent security agencies who can make use of this type of reproduction as evidence, without requiring the consent of the people who are part of the recording, as long as this content is directed solely and exclusively to the Ombudsman, Ministry or corresponding courts, in accordance with the Organic Law that regulates the use of this type of video cameras by the security forces. 

In circumstances in which an individual requires to use the content recorded by their video surveillance camera, it must comply with the guidelines established in the Organic Law on Protection of Personal Data.

In the same way, there are other surveillance cameras identified as such by the companies that develop them, which offer their services privately to private individuals if required. These, in turn, offer the guarantee to safeguard and defend the rights of users, through what is known as ARCO (Access, Rectification, Cancellation and Opposition), so, if required, they should contact the company in question, who is who has the personal data of those involved. 


On board cameras

On the other hand, there is another type of equipment recommended as the best car cameras of 2020 ( in this link you can find several products to analyze ) , which are manufactured by different brands and with varied models, which have managed to penetrate the preferences of users interested in this type of device, due to the great utility they offer when traveling by car. 

These are the dashcam or known as “on board” that, unlike surveillance cameras, have the ability to record through their recordings the entire route while the car remains on and in motion, so they can capture an environment wider as the vehicle moves forward. 

The use of the content of these cameras as evidentiary argument in a particular case where an accident or other type of eventuality occurs is more permitted by some organizations. However, there are cases in which the Spanish Agency for Data Protection could intervene, if it considers that the privacy of some of the people who have been recorded by these cameras has been violated, so the images obtained from the Videos may not be shown to third parties, nor shared through the Internet and social networks, even less when they show the license plates of the vehicles involved and the faces of the people. 

There are also cases in which the recordings of this type of car camera are valid, as long as the only purpose is to use them as evidence in trials before the respective courts that allow it but, for these cases, it will be necessary to demonstrate then the reasons why a camera has been used, that is, justify the use of the camera, as well as its proportionality.


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