Friday 23 August 2019

That phone snap from the back of the church? It's fine

Stock photo
Stock photo
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

IT has been one of the most puzzling things facing parents in recent years. Just when can you take a photo of your child at a school event?

If other kids are present, do you have to ask permission from their parents first? What about posting that photo to Facebook or WhatsApp for the rest of your family to see?

And is the principal or bishop actually right if they announce that photos of the confirmation or communion are not allowed "due to GDPR"?

The whole thing is a fog of confusion, nervousness and second-guessing. And if it has been unclear for parents, for schools and institutions, it is little short of a minefield.

They not only have to consider privacy, but safety and child protection, too.

Thankfully, Ireland's highest authority on the topic has shed some light on proceedings.

It turns out that Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) doesn't stop anyone from taking a photo at a school event.

There is, the DPC reminds us, a "household exception".

In plain English, that means that parents will, of course, want to take photos of their kids' big events. And if other kids also happen to be in those photos, that's generally fine, too, unless there is some particular reason why not.

It should also put paid to some extreme interpretations, such as the notion that you can't take a photo at a school GAA match.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner's office isn't saying you can follow someone around with a long lens. And it recommends being sensitive to the feelings of others.

But that camera phone snap from the back of the church? It's fine.

Irish Independent

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