Grandmother ordered to delete Facebook photos under GDPR

Elias Hubbard
May 23, 2020

But not many people sue their mom and dad over it.

She filed a complaint under GDPR, Europe's famously robust privacy laws.

A court in the Netherlands has ordered a woman to delete all of the photos of her grandchildren that she's posted on Facebook and Pinterest without their parents permission.

The Gelderland judge agreed that the grandmother did not have permission to post the pictures under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation.

The BBC reported that the woman must now pay a fine of $54 per day for every day that she doesn't comply with the court's order, up to a maximum of $1,000. The EU privacy laws stringently regulate how companies manage private data.

Those rules do not normally apply to the storage of personal data within personal circles such as family. Typically, this law would not regulate "purely personal" usage, but the court said that the exception did not apply in this case, because "With Facebook, it can not be ruled out that placed photos may be distributed and may end up in the hands of third parties". And that's why GDPR applies to the situation.

Grandmother ordered to delete Facebook photos under GDPR
Court orders grandmother to delete Facebook photos of grandkids

According to a local report on the case, the woman hasn't spoken to her mother for a year due to the dispute.

The children's mother - also the grandma's daughter - had asked before for her to take the pictures down as she didn't want pictures of the children exhibited on social media.

Despite several appeals, the case went to court after the woman refused to delete photographs of her grandchildren which she had posted on social media, reported the BBC.

As a parent of two small children, I empathize with the mom here. I wouldn't have taken it this far. As for this grandma, I guess she'll have to do it the oldschool way from now on: print her grandchildren's photos and show them to her friends in person.

The same laws don't now exist in Australia, where privacy laws surrounding photos shared on social media can vary from state to state.

While this case is a unique use of GDPR, many countries do have laws that require consent from someone before you can post their picture.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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