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2.2.7-3 Can a participant in a public university event refuse to have their picture taken? Can this person request that photos taken of them are removed?

It depends on how “important” the person is to the public:

  • Yes, if the person in question is a “normal”, non-public person (e.g. a student, employee, etc.). In this case, it is illegal to take pictures of the person without their consent. The person can defend themselves against being “photographed”, in particular by demanding the deletion or removal of the photos (e.g. from the university’s homepage) and by invoking the data protection law on photographing a person. Photographs in which a person can be recognised are one example of sensitive data on their person (Art. 3 FADP). Pursuant to the Federal Act on Data Protection, every dealing, in particular also the creation of data, is unlawful, unless there is consent, a higher private or public interest or a legal justification for it (Art. 13 FADP).
  • Generally not, when the person is a public personality, at least for a limited time (e.g. rector, personality from business, politician). A person who works in the public arena must accept “being photographed” if it is in connection with their fame and the event.
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