Car dashcam audio recording: Do you keep it on or off

I do realize the irony of talking about privacy when it comes to dashcams – a device meant to capture videos of all the people around me without their consent.

BHPian lordrayden recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I recently installed a dashcam in my car and as part of setting it up, was going through all the settings, tuning and tweaking them. One of those settings was the option to enable/disable audio recording. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw that option was, “Why would anyone even want to record audio from the car’s cabin, isn’t it a breach of privacy?”. I know that the audio recording should stay on the local SD card, but it still makes me uncomfortable. For me, at least, it seems down to human beings not wanting to be spied on, which always-on audio recording feels like. Anyway, I immediately switched off the audio recording (meaning, I put it in mute mode).

I do realize the irony of talking about privacy when it comes to dashcams, a device meant to capture videos of all the people around me without their consent. But all those people ARE out in public, so it’s not a private situation in the first place, unlike the inside of my car. Just as the inside of my house is considered private, and the outsides are not.

A little later, I googled this specific topic of dashcam audio recording and most of the reasons I found supporting audio recording could be put into the following buckets:

  • To record verbal interactions with cops or others outside the car.
  • To record sounds that might indicate something about events happening outside of the camera’s field of view.
  • To record commentary/descriptions spoken by occupants for things that may not be present/clear in the video (like number plates, car make/model, etc).

I was somehow not convinced though.

I thought it will be interesting to know other enthusiasts’ opinions on this as I don’t see this discussed all that much.

Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:

Have way too many confidential personal / business conversations in the car either on the phone or with my passengers. Don’t know where the SD card could end up one day.

In the rare occurrence that something with a 3rd-party needs to be recorded, I’ll record it on my smartphone.

Here’s what BHPian clevermax had to say about the matter:

I record audio all the time. There is a special use case too – if you doubt whether or not the camera correctly captured the number plate, you can read it aloud so that you at least know the number of the offending vehicle that just went past.

Here’s what BHPian sagarpadaki had to say about the matter:

Used to keep audio on earlier. Now it is off. Main reason is privacy. I do not want anyone to hear what I/we are talking about in the car.

Added benefit is that more duration of videos can be recorded.

Here’s what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say about the matter:

Have always kept it mute. Primarily because a lot of conversations happen in the car and in general it is a place where you can have any kind of discussion without the worry of anyone overhearing. The SD card can also get misplaced, lost or even stolen at any time. The benefits of keeping it on are also minimal. So it is a no-brainer for me.

Here’s what BHPian ramnaresh_2000 had to say about the matter:

It was by default on and I left it on deliberately. My car is driven mostly by me. If someone is driving my car I am sure it would be my friends or family which rarely happens. I keep it on in case of accidents or unwanted interactions with traffic cops.

Coming to privacy concerns, doesn’t it mean if someone is entering my car, he/she has to adhere to my rules and regulations? My rule is I keep audio on, if you have concerns about it don’t use my car. Just kidding. My safety concerns outweigh any privacy concerns.

Here’s what BHPian Pequod had to say about the matter:

It’s a good feature, but my wife and I have way too many personal/familial discussions in the car – some of which could lead to disaster and discord if ended up in the wrong family member’s hands.

So, always mute for me.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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