Data chief’s guide launch foiled by journalists

Like mentioning Rocky in any article associated with boxing; mentioning “the nativity play” and “photography” is becoming a hardy perennial for journalists tasked with writing about the Data Protection Act.

The story that the journalists were invited to cover was the Information Commissioner’s new “Guide to Data Protection”. The press release states that the Guide’s purpose is to provide practical advice to those with day-to-day responsibility for data protection, by taking a “straight-forward look at the principles of the Data Protection Act”. The Guide is 92 pages long, a length which initially sounds excessive. However whilst I haven’t read it all, a quick look suggests that it is going to be pretty useful. In fact, it has apparently received accreditation from the Plain Language Commission as a Clear English Standard winning document.

However most news stories about the Guide have eschewed any kind of discussion or appraisal of it in favour of yet another article about whether or not the Data Protection Act can prevent you from taking photographs of your kids at their nativity play.

This has been a sturdy story since the Act was first introduced, despite the Information Commissioner first providing guidance on the subject way back in 2005.

Once and for all – the Data Protection Act doesn’t prevent parents taking photographs of their children and friends participating in school events. If the photographs are for personal use then they’re not going to be covered by the Act.  (Although Douglas did mention something about the possibility of infringing the kids’ performance rights if you video the play!)

Now, if you excuse me, I have to go and write a piece about a bid for a dramatic eleventh hour mercy dash, possibly involving a cat, a fire chief and a blazing inferno.

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