Child pictures victory for Scots evening

By Hamish Mackay

An evening paper has won official backing for its challenge to an
education authority that wanted a blanket ban on parents photographing
or filming school events.

The Evening Express, Aberdeen, has been told by the Scottish
Information Commissioner’s Office that a blanket ban on pictures or
videos would not have been backed by law.

Photographs taken by parents purely for personal use are exempt from the Data Protection Act, it has emerged.

ICO
assistant commissioner Jonathan Bamford said: “Fears of breaching the
provisions of the Act should not be wrongly used to stop people taking
photographs or filming videos.

“I am pleased to say that parents,
friends and family members can take photographs of their child and
friends participating in school activities for the family album. They
can also film events at school.”

The Data Protection Act applied
only in a very small number of circumstances, he said, and if
permission was sought by the photographer, it was usually enough to
ensure compliance.

Bamford added that photographs taken by the media were usually exempt from the Act too.

The Evening Express had clashed with Aberdeenshire Council after a planned ban on all school pictures last year.

The
council compromised by deciding on a policy which ruled that children
of parents who objected to them being filmed could be removed from the
line-up.

Schools now allow people the chance to take photographs
in one session or have one person take a video recording that is
available to everyone.

Aberdeen City Council had adopted a
similar policy and is in the process of drawing up a revised
comprehensive policy on photographing and filming young people in
schools and community centres.

It will include media coverage and events such as sports days, concerts and excursions.

A
consultation with Aberdeenshire parents last year showed that only one
in 300 families had a problem with their children being photographed or
filmed.

That represented the families of just 0.36 per cent of the council’s 28,000 pupils.

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