This is another way online privacy is going to be tested against our civil liberty laws. Though in this case, it is going to be the privacy laws of Austria, an EU country, that is going up against the rights of people vis-a-vis what happens online.
The case of the teenager suing her parents for violating her privacy is not straightforward because of the ethical issues of a kid taking her parents to court for violating her rights to privacy.
According to the story first reported by local a local media in Austria, an 18 year old girl is going to sue her parents for posting pictures of her in various stages of her life as a child on Facebook.
The parents, like any proud parents were happily sharing sharing photos of their daughter as she was growing up. The Facebook account had about 700 friends and were all privileged to see a friend’s daughter’s photos as a kid I’m sure.
About 500 photos were posted for friends to see.
Apparently, for about seven years now, the poor girl has being complaining to her parents that the pictures were really embarrassing and she would really appreciate it if they stopped. The parents refused to be deterred in the zeal to share photos of their lovely daughter with their friends on Facebook. After all, all parents do it.
However, the photos are not just images of the teenager laughing, playing or sleeping happily; they also included photos of her stark naked and doing demeaning things like learning how to use the toilet properly. The teenager felt these crossed the line.
But because she was still a kid, she had to wait for seven years since her first complaint before she could do anything about it. Now she is 18, she is legally an adult under Austrian laws and can take her parents to court to force them to remove the pictures. And that is what is causing the uproar around the world.
According to the young girl while talking to the press about her parents:
They knew no shame and no limit – and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot – every stage was photographed and then made public.
I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents.”
The parents, especially the father, on the other hand, are having none of it. They feel the pictures are their property and can do whatever they like with them.
The lawyer representing the girl in the suit believes the she has a very strong case and is going to ask for a bit of money as compensation for his client.
Many people across the world, especially Europe would be watching how this case unfolds closely. Because it could have an impact on how users of Facebook and other social forums post pictures of their kids on these forums.
Basically it all comes down the rights of the parents vs the rights of their children.
Imagine a scenario where the girl won the court case. Don’t be surprised if young adults, using this as a credible precedent, start suing their parents for wrongful use of their kiddy photos online. And don’t for one moment think that the Judge in the present case, might use the ramifications on other parents to rule against the girl.
If something is wrong, a precedent has to be set to stop others from doing it. And that is what this case is mostly about: going forward, parents might start thinking about the kind of pictures of their kids they post online for the world to see.
Imagine a world where all those cute pictures of the kids of friends and family are no longer posted on Facebook? I am sure many proud parents are not looking forward to that kind of day.
image credit: stayathomemum.com.au; essentialkids.com.au; sputniknews.com; kinnakasblog.com