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Should I hide my license plate in pictures?

Bartosz Błęka
14th September 2022

Many people and companies, including YouTubers, parking lot operators, owners of car dealerships and other companies processing visual data are concerned about the safety related to posting or sharing pictures and videos with visible license plates. Is that the case? Should you be worried about your safety when it comes to publishing license plates? Thankfully, no.

It's true; according to GDPR, number plates are considered a form of personal data, just like the address, phone number, email address, etc. Under this regulation , “any information which are related to an identified or identifiable natural person” constitutes personal data. But does it mean that knowing this single piece of your personal data is dangerous in any way? No. In fact, posting license plates online is no different than posting a physical or email address of your company.

Can my identity be stolen if someone knows my name and license plate number?

No. There are regulations and safety measures that prevent this from happening. A potential identity thief should have far more sensitive information about a given person to try and steal their identity. For example, in the United States, there is a regulation called Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), and it prohibits “the disclosure of personal information without the express consent of the person to whom such information applies”. Moreover, DPPA explicitly lists circumstances under which data related to a license plate number could be disclosed. Therefore, no one has to worry; it is not possible to steal one's identity with just a number plate. Even if they knew more about a given person, e.g., their home address or a phone number, that's still not enough.

And what in Europe? Here, it's a similar story with GDPR. This regulation applies strict rules for processing data based on consent. Here, it's common to sign a GDPR-based data processing consent, e.g., when someone wants to go to a doctor, open a bank account, or even have their car repaired. That's because, without such a consent, these companies and institutions cannot process personal information, even if they had it at their disposal. You can read more about data protection under GDPR here .

What about other people's license plates?

In general, if you want to be safe on every front, you should anonymize other people's license plates, making them illegible in your photos or videos, especially when they constitute a large part of the picture, e.g., when you photograph a specific car or have video surveillance of a space where cars park or drive by. This way, you don't risk being sued for privacy infringement. Moreover, in theory, if someone saw their car (or themselves) on such a video, it could be a reason for a lawsuit if that was a reason for some sort of loss (e.g. loss of reputation, or in a divorce case if that person was accused of cheating etc.).

If you're looking for a tool that can help you with blurring license plates, take a look at our solution (what's important, Gallio works license plate patterns from all over the world).

Do you want to know more? Get in touch with our team today.

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