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Dashcams in Germany permissible in court, court rules


Experts in Germany had been unsure about whether recordings of car accidents by dashcams contravened data protection laws. The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe has provided clarification.

Dashcam recordings may be used as evidence following an auto accident, Germany's Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe ruled on Tuesday.

The ruling clarifies a gray zone of German law after concerns dashcam recordings violated Germany's strict data protection regulations.

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The facts of the case:

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Is privacy being undermined?

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'Legal uncertainties'

The president of Germany's digital industry association Bitkom, Achim Berg, said the ruling was a step in the right direction, but that drivers in Germany still faced "legal uncertainties" because constant dashcam recordings remained illegal.

German automobile association ACV said the decision had "finally provided a legal framework for the use of dashcams on German roads.

Why would a dashcam recording be illegal? Germany has very strict data protection regulations. The BGH said a recording contravened the Germany's data protection law because people unrelated to the accident were filmed without giving their explicit consent.

Potential solution: The BGH suggested that it is "technically possible" for dashcams to only save footage when an accident has taken place. This could serve as reasonable evidence after an accident and would not break data protection rules.

How many dashcams are there in Germany? According to Bitkom, around 150,000 dashcams were sold in Germany since 2015.

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