In a familiar scenario to all parents you are at your child’s Saturday morning soccer game when you see the other team’s parent taking photos of your children and filming. You haven’t given permission for them to take photos or film your children, can they do this without your permission?
It is not illegal for people to take photos of your children in public places without your permission.
There is no right to privacy that forbids people from taking a person’s photograph whilst on public property. In fact, you can take photos of someone in their house or backyard, so long as you do not trespass onto their private property. If someone on the street is taking a photograph, as long as they are not physically trespassing, there is no law that prevents that.
Similarly, if you are on private property it is illegal to take pictures or film without permission. On private property owners have the right to impose restrictions on any photography. Taking photos or filming on private property without permission is illegal. Many sporting venues are private property, even if they are owned by local council or other government organisations. These places can make rules that ban people from photographing or recording any part of the space or the people within it.
Whilst there are some laws contained in the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld) governing the photography of children, these laws are aimed at protecting children from the production and distribution of indecent or obscene material.
But what if the material isn’t obscene?
The Summary Offence Act 2005 (Qld) offers limited protection from people photographing others in public, however, the conduct of the photograph must be “offensive” or “threatening” and be likely to interfere with the enjoyment of a public place. This may have some application to someone openly photograph children in a public place, it may not apply where the filming was concealed.
What can I do to protect my children?
Concerns about unauthorised images have exploded with the ease and availability of online publication.
Approach your local sporting venues to find out how that organisation regulates photography on their premises, if they do not have a current policy in place suggest that they may want to implement one.
When posting photos of your child or other children on social media ask yourself – How am I making this photo identifiable?
- Who might be able to see these photos?
- Is there anyone else in this photo? Someone people may not want their image to be published.
- Are there any identifying details in the photo? Including personal information such as your child’s name, school, location, etc.
When uploading photos and videos check your privacy settings on social media. You may want to put privacy settings on any social media platform to restrict access to photographs and information about any child to family and close friends.