Austrian teen sues parents over embarrassing Facebook photos
Woman discovered 500 images on social network from all stages of her life after joining
The young woman from the Carinthia region of Austria told the newspaper that the photos were visible to 700 Facebook users linked to her parents’ account. Her parents refused to delete the pictures when she asked. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters
Before you post those holiday pictures on Facebook, you might first want to get your little darlings’ permission.
An 18-year-old Austrian woman is reportedly suing her parents for posting almost 500 pictures of her online without her agreement, many of which she found embarrassing.
The unnamed teenager told Austria’s Die ganze Woche magazine that, when she was 11, her parents had posted pictures of her from all stages of her life – something she discovered three years later when she joined the social network.
“They knew no shame or limits,” she said. “Whether I was sitting on the potty or naked in my crib, my every step was recorded photographically and, afterwards, made public.”
The young woman from the Carinthia region told the magazine that the photos were visible to 700 Facebook users linked to her parents’ account. She said her parents refused to delete the pictures when she asked, a refusal that prompted her case for breach of her right to privacy and data protection rights.
The magazine said the case is set to begin in November. The father, also unnamed, told Die ganze Woche that he saw no reason to delete the images.
“I see it as my right to publish these pictures,” he said. “After all it’s our children and, for my wife and myself, it’s a nice family album that goes down well with our Facebook friends.”
As the digital native generation reaches maturity, authorities in France and Germany already have laws that regulate social media posting of pictures of children.
France has tightened its privacy laws, allowing up to a year in prison or a fine of up €45,000 for parents who post pictures of their children on social media without their permission.
In Germany, a country with relatively strict privacy laws, it is already possible for teenagers from 14 to sue their parents for intruding on their personal privacy with unwanted social media picture posts.
German police in the western city of Hagen made headlines last year after stepping into the legal grey area, urging parents to stop posting pictures of their offspring online indiscriminately, for fear of attracting the attention of paedophiles.
“Perhaps you find the photos sweet today, but for your child they might be endlessly embarrassing in a few years, or might even be bullied,” they said. Some 11 million people clicked on the online appeal.