Hungary DPA Issues Guidance on the Use of Dashcams

The Hungary DPA has recently released guidance on the use of dashcams (hereafter Guidance), considering that the DPA received several queries relating the use of on-board cameras that attaches to the vehicle’s interior windscreen and continuously records the car or a journey.

The Guidance notes that there is no specific legislation that regulates the use of dashcams in Hungary, therefore the general rules of the Information Act (Act No CXII of 2011, the local transposition of the EU Data Privacy Directive) apply to the operation of such cameras. Although capturing pictures and recording of sound is considered as ‘data processing’ under the the Information Act, its provisions do not apply to the processing of personal data done by a natural person in the course of a purely personal activity. Consequently, if the use of the dashcam is data processing done for personal purposes (under Section 2 (4) of the Information Act), such activity remains exempt from the scope of data protection legislation. Nevertheless, the respective exemption shall be interpreted restrictively and in order to determine whether the processing falls within the scope of the exemption or not, the following circumstances are decisive:

– The operator of the camera shall be a natural person. If the camera is operated by a company or by any other organization or same is installed in the car of an employee, such processing is not exempt from the provisions of the Information Act;

– The continuous capture of high quality images is not necessary for a use of personal purposes; the DPA suggests the use of low resolution records with the capture of fewer pictures per second.

– The captured data should not be retained for more than five working days;

– The operator shall ensure that third persons have no access to the captured data. If the natural person does not take the necessary data security measures, he/she shall be liable for violation of the provisions of the Information Act;

– The processing done for personal activity may only cover the capture and storage of records, whereas the publication of such records is not a purely personal activity, unless the personal data in such records is made unrecognizable (such as by blurring the images of persons and license plates) or the consent of the data subjects is obtained.

If the above conditions are fulfilled, the Guidance suggests that data processing remains within the scope of a purely personal activity. In all other cases, the operator of the camera shall be considered as data controller and comply with the obligations laid down in the Information Act.

Finally, the DPA also notes in its Guidance that the use for evidentiary purposes of records made by dashcam is out of the scope of data protection laws. Regarding the use of records infringing personal rights in proceedings for taking evidence, the Hungarian Supreme Court already confirmed in its milestone decision Nr. EBH 2000.296 that it shall be admissible to use / submit such records for evidentiary purposes before court, therefore the legality of evidence cannot be challenged due to the infringement of personal rights. This interpretation is also accepted by the Guidance.

The Guidance of the DPA is available here.