The California DMV Sort Of Cares About Your Privacy
Over at The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Blog, there is a review of a new 2011 law that allows car owners to install “video event recorders” in their vehicles, it was (and, until January 1, 2011, still is) illegal to install these contraptions in your car. These recorders are mini-cameras that are installed on the dashboard/windshield area and, in the event of a car accident, would be used to show the quality of one’s driving and level of distraction. But, as the article points out, this gizmo could also be used to record a driver’s encounter with the police. This could potentially be helpful or harmful to a defendant in a criminal case.
From both a privacy standpoint, criminal prosecution standpoint, and rules-of-courtroom-evidence standpoint this law is a very significant development. It is so significant that the California Department of Motor Vehicles is not interested in publicizing it at all. The DMV failed to mention it in their press release showcasing new laws for 2011. It is entirely possible that this is one of those laws that didn’t get much publicity for who-knows-what-reasons. Oh wait, we do know the possible reasons. Privacy advocates don’t like the law and other people will start to get the idea that they can record their encounters with the police after they get pulled over.
Or maybe we’re just over-thinking this, the press release people simply forgot about this law, and by accusing the DMV of acting with such subtle cunning, we are giving them far more credit than they deserve.
In other DMV privacy news, has anyone gone to their website to register their car or get a new license? When you register your account, you have to choose from a list of security questions for password recovery. One of the questions is “Who did you vote for in your first Presidential Election?” Isn’t it against the law for the government to ask you how you voted in an election? We’re going to look into this.