Facebook & GDPR

Joe Ellis

Neophyte
Joined
May 29, 2020
Messages
2
Hi all.

I'm the sole or shared admin on a number of Facebook groups, some in the UK and some international. One of these is a closed group in the UK for people living in a particular village.

I've recently had an issue with a limited number of posts containing:-
  • Two still images taken locally of people assembling in large groups in an open field
  • One Dashcam video of allegedly bad driving in the area
These images wound up certain members. Various people made statements that it was illegal to take pictures of children without consent and one (who's "been on a course") threatened all manner of trouble for me and involving the police under GDPR regulations. This was on the basis that they all contain "Personal Identifiable Information", in this case the images of individuals and car registrations which might be possible to make out in the video. Note: One image would have been a group of adults and one of a group of teenagers around 16 to 18, both taken from over 100m distance and of poor quality. No close-ups.

Can anyone shed any light on the legal responsibilities involved? My prior understanding was that in the UK/EU there could be no expectation of privacy in a public place for either adults, children or registration plates, as they are publicly visible, and that images of children were not illegal as long as they are not voyeuristic/sexual in nature. We've had similar complaints in the past when people posted videos of brass bands, ex-servicemen, scouts and guides in armistice day church parades, on the basis again that "You can't post images of children. It's illegal" and "Some of those kids might be in hiding from separated parents" (in which case the consensus was that the remaining parent shouldn't have them parading up & down the high street if they don't want them seen).

I've tried reading up on GDPR and quite frankly my brain melts slightly and then shuts down shortly afterwards. My group regularly receives posts containing images of the village, often with people in them, along with kids playing sports, doing things for charity etc. I would not imagine for a second that any clearance was obtained on any of them, simply because these people were out in public. However, this does not mean that GDPR has potentially upset the apple cart over the last 18 months or so and that potentially many Facebook groups are in trouble as they are riddled with images of people.

Has anyone else run up against this yet? Are there any steps I should put in place to ameliorate the issue? Do I have to ban photos of individuals, put up some kind of pro forma disclaimer? Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
 

DaveL

Habitué
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
1,416
You are spot on.
My prior understanding was that in the UK/EU there could be no expectation of privacy in a public place for either adults, children or registration plates, as they are publicly visible, and that images of children were not illegal as long as they are not voyeuristic/sexual in nature.
Everyone on facebook seems to be an armchair expert on the law, and 99% of the time they are wrong.
 

Joe Ellis

Neophyte
Joined
May 29, 2020
Messages
2
Thanks for confirming that part at least. I still get the impression that this whole PII deal under GDPR has complicated things for admins since 2018 though, given that it seems to cover a ridiculously large amount of things that can technically identify you. Most of these are absolutely fine under normal circumstances, but all it takes is one ****hole who wants to cause trouble. I'm fine with removing abusive posts and things that members report etc, but I don't want have responsibility for every last image and so forth.
 

Faust

Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
218
As long as this is public , you have right to photograph or record video, unless there is a private premises. Of course you wouldn’t take a picture to close to someone or record, you will need to ask for permission. That’s far as I know as a photographer.
 

Ingenious

Fan
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
801
Police don't get involved in GDPR as far as I know (it's the ICO and they really are not interested in village Facebook groups!) and you can take photos in a public place. This might be useful:


Some of the confusion around this is most likely people Googling or reading about laws in other countries (some US states are more strict for example) and thinking it applies everywhere.

Maybe a disclaimer or some sort of basic code of conduct would be handy though because you don't really want the hassle of people misusing your group to have a go at people they don't like or becoming vigilantes:

Whilst taking photos of people in a public place is perfectly legal in the UK, please act responsibly when posting such material in our group. Images or video intended to highlight criminal activity are better directed towards the police or relevant authority rather than social media. Please do not use our group to "name and shame". Our group is intended as a positive and safe space for residents of [name of village] to network and we reserve the right to remove posts or content that do not conform to the spirit of this.

As for the people complaining and threatening you with the Police and other such rubbish, usual advice is to advise them no law is being broken then ignore them (block/ban if they're bothering you or the group), they can go to Facebook or the police if they still have an issue.
 

zappaDPJ

Administrator
Joined
Aug 26, 2010
Messages
7,290
First of all welcome to TAZ Joe Ellis :)

One Dashcam video of allegedly bad driving in the area
UK law is fairly clear on this.

Assuming the dash cam is fitted correctly and the vehicle isn't a shared or private hire car, the footage can be pulled from the cam and shared online. This applies to the UK only.

Ideally the uploader should justify their reason for uploading. If the aim is to stir up hatred then there could be consequences.
 

MagicalAzareal

Magical Developer
Joined
Apr 25, 2019
Messages
729
Do I have to ban photos of individuals, put up some kind of pro forma disclaimer?
One thing they do a lot on television is blurring out faces, although they also have people appear normally a lot of the time too. I am not familiar with much beyond that.
 
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