I’m sure we have all had comments on our videos about how displaying number plates is against the law or breaking people’s privacy, is it either of those?
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.
Data Protection Act and UK Law
I know in the past, that magnatom asked the information commissioner of Scotland what the position was, legally, of 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. 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.
European Convention on Human Rights
It was once raised to me that this was breaking EU Human Rights Legislation, so lets take a look at that.
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
Martin Porter wrote about just this, what is more important, the right to privacy or the right to live? Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights states
Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.
The European Convention on Human Rights only applies to a state and not an individual member of the public. Let’s also not forget that the roads are a public place and there should be no expectation of privacy on them.
The Human Rights Act in the UK applies the acts from the European Convention on Human Rights to all members of the public in the UK and not just the state. But again the question is what is more important, life or privacy? The Human Rights Act states
You have the responsibility to respect other people’s rights, and they must respect yours.
I would like to think that someones life is more important than someones privacy.
Everything we are doing is perfectly legal, after all we are not posting personal information and we are filming in a public place. There is no expectation to privacy in a public place, if people are worried about being shown to the world on youtube, then they should think a little about their behaviour behind the wheel.
[Do you have information about the legality of using cameras in your area? If so get in touch.]