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The Act on Processing of Personal Data and social networks

What rules apply when you disclose information about others?
In Denmark, you must abide by the Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data when you disclose personal data. This also applies if you make personal data available to a group of people so large that it can be considered public disclosure.

In these cases, you are the data controller and must follow the Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data.

If the activity in question is purely private in nature, e.g. if the information is solely available to a small group of people, the Act on Processing of Personal Data does not apply.

If you have disclosed data or photos of other people, these people have a right to protest against your disclosure. As the controller, you must act on the protest, e.g. by removing the data or photos from the internet.

 
What applies when you disclose information about yourself?
When you disclose photos or information about yourself, you also enable others to use this information. The Danish Data Protection Agency will typically not be able to help you get others to delete the information or photos that you have personally disclosed.

You can perhaps claim copyright over your photos, but the Danish Data Protection Agency cannot assist you with copyright-related matters.

A piece of good advice: Think carefully before posting information on the internet - only disclose the information that you are comfortable with being accessible on the internet forever!

 
What applies to the information that social networks are responsible for?
The social networks are controllers of the data they process in connection with their administration of your profile.

Danish social networks, i.e. networks operated by companies that are established in Denmark, are subject to the Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data.

If the social network is based in a country outside of the EU and collects personal data from Denmark, the Danish Act on Processing of Personal Data applies in some cases.

If the collection of data in Denmark occurs from a social network in another EU country, it may be subject to that country’s personal data law.

 
Who can you complain to?
If you wish to protest against another person’s disclosure of data about, and/or photos of, you on a social network, you must first contact this person directly. The person who disclosed the data is responsible for it and must act on your protest.

If the controller will not remove the data, and it is a person who lives in Denmark, the Danish Data Protection Agency may be able to help you. The Danish Data Protection Agency can only help you remove data that the Act on Processing of Personal Data entitles you to demand removal of. Types of data that are not covered by the Act include statements and information that are covered by freedom of speech.

If you are dissatisfied with something that a social network does as controller, you must first contact the social network and explain your complaint. This also applies if you wish to delete your profile - you have to contact the social network and you may have to provide them with additional information so that they are certain that you are entitled to demand deletion of the profile.

Depending on where in the world the social network is based, the Danish Data Protection Agency may be able to consider the issue, e.g. if the social network will not comply with a demand you make with reference to the Act on Processing of Personal Data.

Fact box

Social networks are basically sites on the internet where you can create a profile that describes you and you can see other people’s profiles. This phenomenon has become very popular, primarily because sites such as Facebook and MySpace have quickly gained a huge number of users worldwide, including in Denmark. But there are also a number of smaller social networks that appeal specifically to people with similar interests or the same life situation.

Source: The National IT and Telecom Agency