You can now sue your parents for uploading those embarrassing photos on Facebook

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By Katie King on

That dodgy photo of you naked in the bath could be worth thousands of pounds in damages


Sometimes it seems parents go out of their way to try to annoy their kids, but international privacy law means that they might have to resist the temptation to upload embarrassing photos on Facebook.

Think adorable but slightly dodgy photo of you as a toddler naked in the kitchen sink. Once you hit the age of 18, you’re actually able to sue your own parents for breaching your right to privacy.

It sounds a little extreme, so Legal Cheek spoke to Mark Stephens — media lawyer and partner at Legal 500 heavyweight Howard Kennedy — to find out more.

He told us that the legal grounding to all this is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international treaty to which almost 200 countries are party. Article 16 specifically states, in part:

No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy.

It’s an important human right, one that opens up the gateway to legal proceedings in the domestic courts. When Stephens was asked what sort of punishment these parents could expect to face if the court found against them, he told us:

Damages. These wouldn’t be massive. It’s more about awareness and recognition rather than deterrence, but you’re looking at tens of thousands of pounds. Enough money to see you through university.

It may sound heavy, but France has taken this one stage further. Across the Channel, a law has been enacted stating that parents and carers have a positive obligation to preserve their child’s privacy. If broken, defendants can expect a year-long prison stint and a £35,000 fine.