• Drivers Warned About Speedcam Anywhere App

Drivers Warned About Speedcam Anywhere App

Speeding app faces backlash from UK motorists

  • Published: 16 June 2022
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A controversial new app has come under scrutiny from UK drivers since its launch in March 2022. 

As reported in The Guardian newspaper, the backlash has been so severe that the app’s developers have deemed it necessary to hide their identity from angry motorists.

But what is the Speedcam Anywhere app and why has it proved so controversial? Here at Wilsons Epsom, we answer these questions and more… 

What is the Speedcam Anywhere app?

Launched as an app for drivers across the UK in March 2022, Speedcam Anywhere is an artificial intelligence (AI) system that is able to accurately measure speeds of vehicles simply by using the camera on a smartphone or tablet. 

The app effectively turns a user’s phone or tablet into their very own portable speed camera. The video footage taken is then uploaded to Speedcam Anywhere’s servers where it is analysed by AI technology. Capable of measuring a vehicle’s speed simply from video footage, the app checks it against lawful speed limits on any given roads across the country. 

When a video is submitted via the Speedcam Anywhere app, a report is then generated to show evidence of a vehicle’s speed at that time, whilst also highlighting road safety and speeding hotspots to the user.    

How does the Speedcam Anywhere app work?

We’ve not used the Speedcam Anywhere app ourselves, but the app’s official website speedcamanywhere.com states that it is easy for anyone to use - providing they have access to a smartphone or tablet with a camera. 

Speedcam Anywhere is a three-step process:

  1. Using a smartphone or tablet camera, users can take a shot of the vehicle in question when the app will take a short video clip
  2. The clip can then be submitted to receive a report with evidence of the vehicle’s speed
  3. Data is produced to identify the speeding vehicle’s impact on other road users in the area

    

Why was the Speedcam Anywhere app created?

Although it's been met with negative reports, the Speedcam Anywhere app was actually created to do good and enhance the safety of all UK road users.

Developed by a team of anonymous individuals with a background in AI technology, it was hoped the app would be warmly welcomed by motorists. The team had planned for it to highlight road deaths and traffic crimes across the country. 

With stats showing that over 20,000 serious injuries are road related every year, Speedcam Anywhere was created for local residents to document traffic in their area. It was developed to record speeding incidents to help keep the community safe, especially in areas with a higher percentage of pedestrian use, such as schools and housing estates. 

Unfortunately for the creators, it seems the Speedcam Anywhere app has made headlines for all the wrong reasons…  

  

Why is the Speedcam Anywhere app so controversial?

Whilst being created for all the right reasons, one of the app’s founders spoke exclusively to The Guardian newspaper about his concerns following severe backlash from the UK public. He says: “Speedcam Anywhere is a Marmite product; some people think it’s a good idea, but some people think that it turns the country into a surveillance state.”

Many motorists are damming the app as an invasion of privacy when it comes to capturing video footage without consent. In order for Speedcam Anywhere’s AI technology to identify a speeding vehicle and run a subsequent report, it needs to read the vehicle’s number plate and access DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) data to do so. 

Many drivers feel that this process means their data is being breached without prior consent, therefore crossing ethical boundaries. The general consensus seems to be that motorists feel it unfair to be targeted for speeding without being properly made aware that they are being recorded, unlike with current official speed camera technology on the UK’s roads.   

Is the Speedcam Anywhere app legal in the UK?

Despite the backlash the Speedcam Anywhere app has faced, it is legal to use in the UK. It is important to understand that the app cannot be used to prosecute people or issue speeding tickets or fines like a conventional speed camera. However, as with vehicle dashcams, it’s worth bearing in mind that the Speedcam Anywhere app can be used in evidence of motoring offences.  

Making every effort to protect user’s data, Speedcam Anywhere state their their privacy and security practices include the following:  

  • No data shared with third parties
  • The app will only collect location data
  • Data isn’t encrypted
  • You can request that data is deleted

Where can you download the Speedcam Anywhere app? 

Speedcam Anywhere has not yet been approved by the Home Office for official use on the roads, which has led to difficulties for the app to be accessed. Although not yet endorsed by Google, Speedcam Anywhere is available to download via Google Play for Android, but an iOS Apple version has not yet been made available for iPhone users.    

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