Why are Dash cams not suitable for licensed vehicles?

The ICO regulations state a number of things.

"The data must be securely mounted and secured from possible theft"

This means away from the camera head and not simply stuck to the window screen

"The data should be encrpyted to a minimum standard of FIPS 140-2"

Most dash cams if they are encrypted at all, the viewing software can be downloaded from their website which renders the encrption useless

"There must be a data controller"

Most drivers are unaware of this, since they have access to the data, they must register with the ICO, failure to do so could result in a fine of up to £4000

"If there is audio, then it must only be activated by way of a panic switch or disabled permanently"

Many Dash cams do have a panic switch, but this is ONLY to save the data into an "alarm file" to prevent it from being over written, it has nothing at all to do with the audio function of the Dashcam, the default position for most is "audio on" which means if you turn audio off in the settings, when it powers down and turns back on, the audio is active again.

Can the device be accessed and viewed remotely?

There is the option of live monitoring via the client management software with Wi-Fi or 3G upgrade, please check with your issuing authority.

Is the monitor allowed?

Yes, both the mirror mounted and the dash mount monitor have been checked by the police, MOT stations, DVSA and council enforcement all of whom have deemed perfectly acceptable, provided it does not obscure the view through the windscreen, the monitor does not display recorded images, nor any images which to quote the ICO "cannot be seen by simply having a glance around" however, there are some local authorities who will not allow it such as Southampton, Warrington and TfL so please check with your local authority

How Is the data stored?

We supply a Hard Drive to store the data, SD cards cannot be used as a primary storage device since they will not allow a long enough recording cycle and have limited number of times they can be recorded over.

How long will the data be stored before being over written?

With the Hard Drive we supply, you will always have at least one month footage stored based on 24/7 operation of the vehicle to provide a defence against any allegations.

What happens when the memory is full?

The device records on a cycle, (continuous loop), this means that when the hard drive is full, the oldest recordings are replaced with new ones automatically, this means you will have constant footage from at least the previous month.

Who can access footage?

Generally, Local Authorities stipulate that only authorised officers can access the footage, in which case the drivers may not be able to access to footage. Please check with your local authority.

How is the footage accessed?

All files are encrypted and can only be viewed using the software we provide, it cannot be accessed using any generic media player until converted.

Does the GPS work as a satnav?

No, the GPS is a tracking device built in to the device we supply as standard, but is only for monitoring the location of the vehicle at the time of any alleged incidents.  

Can the sound be active at all times?

The ICO are very clear on this, where ever sound is a part of the system, it must be disabled and ONLY activated by way of a switch or panic button which we supply to meet the authority and ICO requirements, this rules out ALL dash-cams since the sound on those cannot be easily switched between on and off

Will the device drain my battery?

No, the device shuts down automatically with a programmable delay which we set at the point of installation again, to satisfy any Local authority requirements.

What if my Local Authority does not have any conditions regarding CCTV in licensed vehicles?

In that case, we will work with your authority to develop a policy, or to modify the device or its installation to make sure that ALL requirements are met or exceeded, we are already working with over 30 Local Authorities to develop a system which provides everything which you, your Authority, your customers and your insurer would require whilst making sure that all ICO requirements are met.

Where can I find more information about the regulations?

ICO response to the task and finish report