The legailty of Camera use

November 22, 2010 — 3 Comments

I often get the internet lawyer telling me that I’m braking several laws by videoing vehicles and posting videos of them, the drivers and the vehicles number plates online.
As we all know, vehicle number plates are publicly viewable and identifies the car. We can use these to complain about the drivers behaviour. What we don’t know from the number plate is any information about the driver.

I know in the past, that magnatom asked the information commissioner of Scotland what the position was, legally, of him doing what he does. The response that he got, was that it’s fine for us to do and it’s not breaking any data protection laws.
Magnatom has always stated that he isn’t sure if this applies to the England as well.

So to confirm where i and other helmet camera users stand on the matter of legality of posting videos online, i contacted the information commissioner in England and asked the following questions;

  • Is recording bicycle journeys made in england and posting footage on youtube breaking any laws? This includes posting footage of number plates of dangerous drivers that put cyclists life in danger and in some cases the faces and conversations with these drivers.
  • are there any restrictions to it, such as is advertising that you have a camera against the law e.g. a sign saying ‘video recording in operation’ on the cyclists back.

A few weeks later i got a response and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. As magnatom’s response, i was also told that the videoing and posting videos would fall under section 36 of the data protection act. Which states

Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III.

This exemption means that individuals do not have to provide fair processing information to data subjects and so signs will not be necessary in a situation such as the one described. Equally, however, it would not be illegal to display such signs that warn of a camera.

Apart from the data protection act, I don’t think there is any issue with filming, and if there was, I’m sure I would have been brought up on it by now. My footage has been passed to various police departments in London, and none of them have come back to me saying I’m braking any laws.

Gaz

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Gaz is one of the well known cyclists in a growing community of those using cameras. With over 34,000 Youtube subscribers and more than 9,8000,000 online video views, his channels and videos are among some of the most popular of their kind. Gaz has spoken on Radio, TV and in national cycling campaigns about the use of cameras and the power of videos.

3 responses to The legailty of Camera use

  1. After a complaint by the NHS van driver blocking a bikes only contraflow and a pedestrian crossing, we checked with the ICO office, they seemed to think that putting up photos and reg#s of cars was legal too. Remember to put the registration numbers up without spaces for ease of indexing by the search engines.

    Where there is ambiguity is about photos of people.

  2. I have had the “internet lawyer” leave nonsense on my videos. One of them protested about plates on the “head on” video, even though the camera couldnt pick any out. I tend to just delete that stuff and ignore it. I have things more important to consider than giving some pilllock a soapbox.

    I have seen comments left on videos in such a manner, and then the video disappears a week later. I often use the youtube search engine with the “cyclist” and recent uploads parameters, so will catch the new stuff from that. It does make you wonder how many people are scared off by these trolls (no better description really)?

    I suppose thats why I made these:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-N_sHZONsA

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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