Elf and Safety? A Christmas Data Protection Thought

The Information Commissioner has confirmed (again) that data protection laws do not prevent parents taking photographs at their child's nativity play.  The myth that the Data Protection Act is a bar to proud parents taking pics has been circulating for some years, and typically pops up twice a year, in relation to summer sports days and Christmas plays. 

However, the Data Protection Act contains a clear exemption for personal use:  section 36 provides that any personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III of the Data Protection Act 1998.  So long as the pictures are indeed for personal or family albums, rather than commercial or public use, there should be no problem with parents snapping away – thus providing hours of entertainment for doting relatives over Christmas…

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