Average speed cameras in Germany illegal under GDPR

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https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Gericht-stoppt-bundesweit-erstes-Streckenradar-4333809.html (German language)

I haven’t found an English report so far.

The German courts have decided that the first average speed camera system that went online 2 months ago is actually illegal under data protection rules (GDPR).

The problem is, a normal speed camera takes a picture of somebody breaking the speed limit and this is allowed.

The average speed cameras photograph every car / its numberplate as it enters and leaves the section under observation. The problem is, it takes images of cars/drivers that have not committed a crime and stores said image. In order to do that, the camera operator has to get the assent of every driver not breaking the speed limit to be photographed, before the image is taken. It is also illegal to store the information once the driver has left the control area, unless they are guilty of excessive speed.

The police got their knuckles rapped last month for using the cameras to trace/catch criminals of other crimes who happened to pass in front of these cameras. Now the State of Lower Saxony has to immediately disable the camera system, while they wait for their appeal to be heard.

Comments (12)

12 responses to “Average speed cameras in Germany illegal under GDPR”

  1. Brad Sams

    I find this hilarious.

  2. Paul Thurrott

    LOL. The EU is a giant, slow-moving overreaction.

  3. Tim

    I follow GDPR...stuff...fairly closely. If you want to see some insane applications to the law, spend a day at /r/gdpr. That said, I love that this law is having this impact. Screw those cameras.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Tim:

      We just had through that the bandage book / accident book for the first aiders has been replaced. You can't enter the accident into a log book in the first aid box any more, it has to be individual sheets, which are then given to personnel to be filed away for 10 years for legal and insurance reasons.

      Basically, you can't just "browse" the logbook to see who had an accident. A good thing, really.

      • Tim

        In reply to wright_is:

        I saw a discussion the other day debating the legality of teachers discussing students in a teacher's lounge.


        I get it all, in principle, but so many of the things I've seen in this law seem really unenforceable.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to wright_is:

        . . . Basically, you can't just "browse" the logbook to see who had an accident. A good thing, really.

        From the perspective of someone familiar with US casualty insurance, rather asinine if it makes risk engineering based on statistical analysis of injury patterns more difficult to impossible.

        What are the odds the EU got GDPR perfect from the start? If it were, it'd unique amongst regulatory schemes.

        • Tim

          In reply to hrlngrv:
          From the perspective of someone familiar with US casualty insurance, rather asinine if it makes risk engineering based on statistical analysis of injury patterns more difficult to impossible.


          Allow me to play devil's advocate here...but what is the difference between that and, say, online publishers tracking and using data to target ads?

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