French Babies Could Sue Parents for Posting Their Photos Online

French Babies Could Sue Parents for Posting Their Photos Online

The internet age has caused society to re-examine the concept of consent, and lawmakers are desperately scrambling to catch up. New privacy legislation in France could see children suing their parents for posting childhood pictures of them on social media without permission, with the parents potentially at risk of paying fines of €45,000 and serving up to a year in prison.

“In a few years, children could easily take their parents to court for publishing photos of them when they were younger,” Eric Delcroix, an expert on internet law and ethics, told The Telegraph. “We often criticise teenagers for their online behaviour, but parents are no better.”

Such legal action would only be viable once the child in question has grown to an adult age, and they would be burdened with the difficult task of proving lack of consent. However, photos of children at an age when they could not speak, or even comprehend the idea of consent, could be taken as proof in of themselves.

“I think we’re going to get a backlash in years to come from young people coming to realise that they’ve had their whole lives, from the day they were born, available to social media,” Professor Nicola Whitton of Manchester Metropolitan University, told The Guardian. “A recent University of Michigan study found that children aged 10 to 17 “were really concerned” about the ways parents shared their children’s lives online.”

“Parents have to work out what’s right for them, but be aware that this is another person, another human being, who may not thank them for it in 15 years to come,” she added. “It may seem hard, but my line would be don’t put pictures online until they’re of an age where it’s appropriate to discuss it with them.”

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