This is my personal policy. I cannot find a short, clear statement of the relevant privacy laws in Ontario. (I would appreciate assistance in this area.)
If a client violates this policy, I may terminate the contract. They will still owe me for work done, even if the website is not completed.
All information about other people must contain or be accompanied by reasonable proof that the person agreed to it.
Records are kept by the client, or in a hidden, password-protected page of the website, visible to the client.
In some cases, such as signed testimonials or group photos, permission can be assumed.
Information about identifiable children under the age of 16 or mentally-disabled adults requires permission from a parent or guardian. Backs are allowed, as long as there is no other identifying information. Written permission to use the picture on the website is required unless the client knows the family or it is clear from the picture (or sequence of pictures) that the parent agrees to the photo.
Permission for photos from groups such as schools, Scouts, or churches needs to be written, and from the Principal or equivalent. Teachers and onsite leaders might not know the group policy.
Individuals and very small groups of adults do not require written permission, but you should ask permission and whether they want to see the picture before it is published. Use your best judgment when choosing photos, which is often asking other storytellers if an expression is a great part of the story or simply unflattering.
Group shots of adults are planned, so permission is assumed. Again, use best judgement for good expressions.
If another group is supplying the venue (even for hire), hosting, visiting, or helping with the event, get and follow their rules. It is safest to get written permission from a senior representative of the group who is familiar with the relevant policies and legislation, including, if applicable:
- The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which applies to all provincial ministries and most provincial agencies, boards and commissions, as well as to universities and colleges of applied arts and technology.
- The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), which covers local government organizations, such as municipalities, police, library, health and school boards, and transit commissions.
- Any policies for their organization.
Photos that exist and show good expressions and action, and everyone having a fun, are better than technically perfect photos. Unidentifiable people in action are often more interesting than faces.