One of the most difficult challenges that the rate at which technology continues to advance poses is that the evolution of the law leaves a lot to be desired. Especially in a post-iPhone world, disruptive technology is making its presence known on a seemingly daily basis. But the laws are slow to catch up due to processes that, by design, are supposed to take as much time as possible. Lawmakers need as much time as they can get to properly study the implications and possibilities of this technology, shaping their decisions around those facts.Dash Camera

Of course, that doesn’t mean that technology is going to wait for things to catch up. Far from it. Case in point: our privacy. In the early days of the internet, things were pretty cut and dry. Flash forward to an era where you can suddenly buy a small, powerful high definition camera that can be hidden in nearly any everyday item you might have, and suddenly data protection and our right to privacy is on the forefront of everyone’s mind.

Yes, it’s true that technologies like dash cameras bring with them a lot of benefits that our ancestors didn’t have access to. But they also make things more difficult, particularly at that point where convenience and privacy intersect. If you’re going to be installing a dash camera in your car, whether or not that action violates some type of privacy law in your area is probably not one of your concerns as you shop. It should be, however, for a wide range of different reasons that are definitely worth exploring.

Dash Cams and Privacy Laws: Here’s What You Need to Know

One of the most interesting things about all of this has to do with the relationship data privacy and dash cams have with your car insurance company. A lot of people buy dash cams these days for two key reasons. First, they want to protect themselves in the event that they’re ever in an accident. Secondly, a lot of insurance carriers offer discounts for people who take this additional step to safeguard their vehicles.

The Data Protection Commission, however, recently said that insurance companies who incentivize the use of these devices may find themselves to be “joint controllers” in relation to the footage you’re recording and how it is eventually being used.

To put it another way, this means that if you get in trouble for violating privacy laws with your dash cam, don’t worry – the chances are high your insurance company is going to get in trouble, too. Generally speaking, privacy laws governing dash cams vary wildly depending on which state (or even country) you’re talking about. There are far too many to name here, so before you make a purchase it is absolutely in your best interest to research the laws applicable to the place you actually live in. Having said that, the Data Protection Commission recently released a series of guidelines that help further shed light on this important topic.

For the most part, it’s absolutely okay for you to use a dash cam for security or accident liability purposes. However, you must be aware that if you publish that footage in any way – like if you put it on your Twitter platform to shame a particularly bad driver – you definitely run the risk of infringing on the privacy rights of the people in question. The DPC’s guidelines read, in part, “Publication of personal data can be justified in certain circumstances for journalistic purposes but this must be carefully balanced with the privacy rights of the individuals concerned.”

That isn’t necessarily as specific as a lot of us would like, but to be fair it’s about as specific as they can get in the modern era. Again – things are evolving far too quickly for the laws to keep up, and for the time being, we’re all just going to have to be extra careful regarding the steps that we take to protect our own privacy … and whether or not by doing so we accidentally infringe upon someone else’s.