“They knew no shame and no limit. Whether I was sitting on the potty or lying naked in my crib, every step of mine was photographed and subsequently made public.”
These are the aggrieved words of one Austrian teenager, unpacking her grief to Die Ganze Woche magazine that due to her parents refusing to remove some 500 Facebook photos documenting her childhood, she’s been forced to take her parents to court.
“I see no other way than to sue,” the teenager (whose name can’t be given for legal reasons) told Die Ganze Woche, a personification of Millennial angst, arming itself with legal weapons to rile against parental mistreatment. “I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents.”
The photos don’t depict any form of child cruelty or bad parenting – the case of built by the teen’s lawyer Michael Rami is one of breach of privacy. If he can prove that the images have violated her rights to a personal life, he believes his client can win the case. The teen’s parents believe that as they took the photos, they have the right to publish the images to their 700 friends. “I consider it my right to be able to publish these photos,” said the girl’s father. “After all this is our child, and it is a lovely family album for my wife and me.”
The first case of its kind in Austria, Rami will draw on international examples of disputes over images on social networks to frame the case – with the potential to form future case law for Austria over historic image privacy rights. Proceedings will begin in November.
In March this year, an internet privacy expert warned French parents that they should stop posting images of their children as their offspring could eventually sue them for breaching their right to privacy.
Whatever happens, we can’t even begin to imagine how tense Christmas dinner is going to be at their place this year.