Data protection “duck outs”

At a time of the year when nativity plays and suchlike are being photographed by parents up and down the country, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a press release encouraging a common sense approach to photographs taken by family and friends at such events. In short, the guidance aims to dispel fears of breaching the Data Protection Act which are often wrongly used to stop families from taking photographs of school events.

The ICO’s guidance reminds parents that the Data Protection Act does not apply to most situations where photographs are taken by parents in schools for the family photo album or other personal uses. The ICO describes the practice of over-zealous authorities citing the Data Protection Act to prevent parents from taking such photos as amounting to nothing more than a “data protection duck out”.

Photography by parents of school events for private use is quite distinct from images taken for official use, be it for identification purposes, inclusion in a publication or display on a website. In those circumstances the Data Protection Act may apply and appropriate consents should be sought.

Bulletins are for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to specific matters. Where reference is made to Court decisions facts referred to are those reported as found by the Court. Please note that past bulletins included in the Archive have not been updated by any subsequent changes in statute or case law.