Tuesday 23 June 2009

'School pics don't breach Data Act'

This makes sense. The Daily Telegraph reports today that school photographs taken for official use or local newspapers do not breach the Data Protection Act so long as the subjects are aware of how the images will be used.
This is the conclusion of the deputy information commissioner who said warnings that taking images of children and their friends at school events breach their rights are "wrong" and risk preventing happy keepsakes for families.
It follows a Telegraph story last week about a school in Devon: Parents banned from taking pictures of their own children at sports day
The Telegraph says the Information Commissioner's Office has now issued fresh guidance to education authorities and those working in schools, colleges and universities explaining that the Data Protection Act is unlikely to apply in many situations where photographs are taken in schools.
It stresses that those wishing to "capture the moment their child crosses the finish line at their school sports day" should not be deterred by data protection myths.
David Smith, the deputy Information Commissioner, said: "We recognise that parents want to capture significant moments on camera and we want to reassure them and other family members that whatever they might be told data protection does not prevent them taking photographs of their children and friends at school events.
"Photographs taken for the family photo album are exempt from the Act and citing the Data Protection Act to stop people taking photos or filming their children at school is wrong."
Smith added that even where photographs do fall under the act, a common sense approach is needed.
Photos of pupils for building passes or for a school prospectus would be subject to data protection rights but are permissible if those involved or their guardians are aware of the context.
The same applies for a photo of a school awards ceremony that is to appear in the local newspaper, the guidance adds.

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