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GDPR as it Relates to Vacation Photos and Point Blur App - Sprint Product Ambassadors

Sprint Product Ambassador

As you know by now, we Sprint Product Ambassadors are here to help you maximize the value of your Sprint devices and services. This article is to help ensure your summer vacation is memorable for all the right (legal) reasons.


Summer is upon us. School is out. Time for summer vacation! Is a European Vacation in your near future? Before you tell Ellen, Clark, Russ or Audrey to pack their bags and head to the Motherland, you should probably review some of the guidelines that go into effect today in Europe related to the GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation. Namely, how the new regulations on data privacy and protection relate to photography and capturing "biometric information" (i.e. faces) of people of whom you do not have explicit and express permission to have or use.


Let's start with the specific provisions of GDPR related to photography:


A person’s face is considered as biometric information or data.  The GDPR defines biometric data as “personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological or behavioral characteristics of a natural person, which allow or confirm the unique identification of that natural person”.  It is one of the “special categories of personal data” that can only be processed if:
• The data subject has given explicit consent;
• Processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations and exercising specific rights of the controller or of the data subject in the fields of employment and social security and social protection law;
• Processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject;
• Processing is necessary for the establishment and exercise of defence of legal claims; or
• Processing is necessary for reasons of public interest.


Here are few key questions from UK's ICO Self-registration Questionnaire:





"Sharing it" in on social media? That counts, too.




Before you get too worried, let me say a few things to set your mind at ease. If you are taking personal pictures in locations where there is reasonable expectation to encounter cameras (e.g. tourist locations, weddings, public events), then you should not worry about gathering the consent of every person in the long as you do not seek to profit or use the pictures for any business purpose. Whew!


But if you want to be absolutely safe, or if you DO own a business (profitable or otherwise), then it's easier to take precautions sooner rather than having to deal with GDPR compliance later on.


It's worth noting that the GDPR allows persons to request and expect compliance with removal of personally identifiable data at anytime in the future. Which is why I suggest that you blur faces or anonymize photos photos from the get-go before "publishing" (posting on social media counts).


We all know the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus is amazing! It takes awesome pictures with lots of tools to help you get the most from your selfies, panoramas, night shots and more. But one feature that's not part of the pre-installed apps from Samsung is the ability to blur (anonymize) faces. Not to worry. This is Android! There are some great apps for just that.


So far my favorite app for blurring or anonymizing faces is the Point Blur app. It's free, but comes with ads, which aren't too obstructive. The app is very simple to use and does a fantastic job of giving you total control over blurring or pixelating any part of a picture. 


Here's an example photo of my son and two friends. I used the "Honey" (comb) setting on left guy, "Mosaic2" setting on the middle guy, and the "Triangle" setting on the far right guy to demonstrate some app options. Then I used the "Blur" option across their shoes. 


Point Blur_May252018_111734.jpg




The app is simple to use. You can blur whole photos (not sure why, but you can). Or you can blur backgrounds with different blur effects, which can help focus the eye on the important aspect of the picture. There are myriad options.


This is the type of app that can help ensure the privacy and protection of "biometric" information of those whom you do not have explicit permission to own. The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus have plenty of power for photo editing. The app makes editing speedy, and it's easy to save to your edited pics to the camera roll. Which means you can get your Eiffel Tower selfie posted to Instagram faster and without any worries of the EU breathing down your neck.


I hope this article helped you understand a little bit of the GDPR that went into effect today. And how some easy-to-use apps can ensure the privacy of those whom you may accidentally (or purposely) capture in your photos.


Until next time, Happy Snapping!


~Ninja CJ


Sprint Product Ambassador and Sprint employee --

All opinions and views are my own. But I'm usually pretty funny and totally on point because I'm humorous and a smart guy, not just a pretty face.