London, Dec 9 (ANI): Parents in Britain have been told by the Government's privacy watchdog that they can take pictures of their children taking part in Nativity plays even if the school bans them.
According to the Information Commissioner, parents should stand up to headmasters hiding behind the 'myth' that there are privacy laws against relatives taking photos or film footage of school events.
A string of schools have prevented parents from taking pictures of their children in plays, on sports day or at other events, often citing the Data Protection Act as justification.
But the Commissioner, Christopher Graham, who is responsible for implementing the Act, said parents should "stand ready to challenge any schools or councils that say 'Bah, Humbug' to a bit of festive fun".
"Armed with our guidance, parents should feel free to snap away this Christmas," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera.
"It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools.
"A common sense approach is needed - clearly, photographs simply taken for a family album are exempt from data protection laws," he stated.
The commissioner's guidance, sent to education authorities nationwide, states: "The Data Protection Act is unlikely to apply in most situations where photographs are taken by parents in schools.
"The Act does apply when photographs of children are taken for official use by a school or college such as for issuing identification passes.
"In the other small number of instances where the Data Protection Act does apply, if the photographer obtains permission from the parent or individual to take a photograph, then this will usually be enough to ensure compliance." (ANI)