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California Progresses In-Vehicle Camera Privacy Measure

The California Assembly has approved legislation to notify drivers when images are gathered by in-vehicle cameras and prohibit sale for advertising, protecting consumers against the increased sale of personal data.

security camera
(TNS) — The California Assembly announced Tuesday that it has approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would notify drivers when images are gathered by in-vehicle cameras and prohibit their sale to third parties or for advertising purposes, protecting consumers against the increased collection and sale of personal data.

"Many places we go these days we're being recorded or surveilled with no idea how the images are being used," Sen. Dodd said in a news release. "This breakdown of our privacy is now happening inside our own cars. My bill would prevent the unwanted taking of video by in-vehicle cameras and give the consumer more control over their personal information."

Vehicle camera technology has evolved in recent years from the ubiquitous back-up cameras and blind-spot monitoring systems to newer in-vehicle cameras that enhance driver safety by monitoring impaired or distracted driving. However, there is increasing concern that such cameras could also be exploited by data brokers and other third parties who would sell driver and passenger images without regard to consumer privacy.

Existing law offers some protections but gaps remain. In response, Sen. Dodd introduced Senate Bill 296, which aims to place restrictions on the retention and transfer of video recordings from in-vehicle cameras. Under provisions of the bill, consumers may not have to take action to prevent their in-vehicle video recordings from being collected without their permission or knowledge. And the bill would not prevent the use of cameras for traffic safety.

The bill, which is supported by Consumer Federation of California, was approved Monday by the Assembly and heads next to Gov. Gavin Newsom for a signature following a Senate concurrence vote. It is similar to a bill from Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, that was introduced in the Legislature in 2022. Sen. Dodd was the co-author of California's landmark Consumer Privacy Act and numerous other related consumer protections.

© 2023 Times-Herald (Vallejo, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.