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Dutch court rules grandmother must remove photos of grandchildren from social media under GDPR

A Dutch court has ruled a grandmother must delete photographs of her grandchildren she shared on social media without consent from the children’s parents or pay a daily fine.

The BBC reports the legal battle ended up in The Court of First Instance of Gelderland after the grandmother refused to remove the images from Facebook and Pinterest, despite requests from the children's’ mother to do so. According to the judge’s ruling, the images violate the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, more specifically, the Dutch GDPR Implementation Act (UAVG), which states that posting photos of minors under 16 years old requires their legal representative(s)’ consent.


The judge ruled that because the images were shared on social media, where a wider audience could view and potentially save the photographs, the photographs did not meet the ‘purely personal or household activity’ exemption found within Article 2(2)(c) of the GDPR. Lawyer Neil Brown chimed in with the following tweet to note that had the grandmother put restrictions in place in terms of who could see the images, she might’ve been clear under the ‘domestic purposes’ exemption, but because the courts could not determine how the images were protected, it ruled as it did.


If the grandmother doesn’t remove the image from social media, she will be required to pay a penalty of €50 for each day the images are still up, up to a maximum of €1,000. The ruling also prohibits the grandmother ‘from posting, displaying or otherwise distributing photographs of [the plaintiff’s] minor children on social media,’ with the same €50 penalty being applied up to €1,000 for each additional image shared.

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