In what appears to have now become an annual tradition (akin to the Queen’s Christmas speech), the ICO last week issued a statement reminding schools and parents that taking photographs of their children in Christmas nativity plays is not a breach of the Data Protection Act (see link to the ICO’s 2010 press release here and their 2009 statement here).

Pointing people to the ICO’s formal guidance (see link here), Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said:

Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera. It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools.”

Issuing a press release and re-publicising the guidance may have been prompted, in part, by an article in last week’s “Daily Mail” (click here) which reported that a Leicestershire father of a 5 year old girl, claimed to have been threatened with arrest by the police if he took a single photo of his daughter whilst she performed in the school’s nativity play.

Datonomy is well aware of the recent imposition by the ICO of new monetary penalties for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act (see here) but we must have “missed” the provisions introducing police powers to arrest photo-taking parents!

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