Canadians Travelling to Europe: It is Now Illegal To Take Pictures

As you probably know already by receiving hundreds of emails about it, Europe has introduced a new draconic law called General Data Protection Regulation which states what you can do and can not do with data that you have collected. The GDPR for short has come into effect as of May 25th, 2018.

Maybe you have been under a rock last few months you have no idea and asking WTF is GDPR - here is the summary for you:

The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business. The data protection reform is a key enabler of the Digital Single Market which the Commission has prioritised. The reform will allow European citizens and businesses to fully benefit from the digital economy.

So basically starting this year, after spending few thousand dollars to get to Europe from say Montreal and are strolling along Champs-Elysees in Paris, be careful when taking pictures. If you take a picture, and there is another person's face on that picture, you could be fined and potentially (?) jailed.

Hans / Pixabay

But no so fast, buster. Do not ask your parents to PayPal you money to get you out of jail just yet.

Basically, Europe is getting very overzealous on protecting its citizens' rights. As per their photo taking GDRP policy , they warn you to be careful when taking photos when other people are present.

Our culture must change into one which accepts that all individuals enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy. What might constitute a good candid picture for a street photographer might, on the other hand, adversely affect the privacy rights of the individual captured on the photograph, particularly where such person might be facing difficult situations or extraordinary life circumstances.

Therefore, this Office strongly recommends that when the  photographer intends to publish or commercially use a photograph clearly identifying a data subject, the provisions of article 9(a) of the Data Protection Act must be satisfied. This shall mean that no processing shall be allowed without the informed consent of the data subject.

So to summarize, you can still take photos of Eiffel Tour just make sure you use it for your own enjoyment or maybe show it to your parents when you get home and that is it.

Where it gets interesting, anything else you do with the image but keep it on your camera might get you in trouble.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

So if you decide to take that picture and upload it to Facebook for example - this would fall under the law that can get you in trouble.

Basically, if you post a photo on Facebook (now publicly available - does not matter if you just have 1 friend on facebook) - now you will get in trouble

  • whether the photo was taken in a public place;
  •  whether the individual is a public person;
  • whether the publication was in the public interest; and
  • whether the photograph was taken during a public event.

But you are a law-abiding citizen and do not want to get in trouble? Before taking a picture, brilliant European government is asking you to go around and get "informed consent of the data subject".

Lars Rieck is an European lawyer specializing in photography:

Street photography in my mind will have a big problem now.

If you have the consent of the person on your picture, there's no problem. You can use the picture. But this consent has to be informed, as they say. So you have to tell the person in advance what you want to do with the picture. And also, a big drawback is consent can be taken back anytime.

OK you say, this is nuts, I am not gonna go asking hundreds of people for authorization just to take a picture of Berlin Wall - what am I to do? Easy, before publishing your photos to social media, you would need to erase all peoples' faces.

If you still publish that photo, the people in the photo can file a claim against you, and the European agency can fine you, or ask you to delete the photo from the media where you have posted it.

You have been warned!

SOURCE: https://www.npr.org/2018/05/24/614195844/new-eu-data-protection-law-could-affect-people-who-take-pictures-with-their-phon