French parents may want to think twice before posting that adorable picture of little Jean-Luc smashing his croissant into his hair. France's strict privacy laws may mean that social sharing could come back to haunt maman et papa down the road.
An article in the U.K.-based Telegraph created some viral buzz Wednesday for claiming that "parents could face penalties as severe as a year in prison and a fine of (nearly $50,000) if convicted of publicizing intimate details of the private lives of others — including their children — without their consent.
While there don't appear to be any actual cases brought in French courts, Eric Delcroix, an expert on internet law and ethics, told the newspaper: “In a few years, children could easily take their parents to court for publishing photos of them when they were younger.”
Almost all of the TODAY anchors admitted to Matt Lauer that they had posted children's photos online, although Carson Daly and Al Roker said they were cautious about it.
The French law and penalties seemed extreme to some.
"Seems a little excessive," said Savannah Guthrie, adding that most parents sharing photos likely have their child's best interests at heart.
"But you cannot predict how your child is going to feel about that later," Lauer pointed out.
Carson Daly joked that keeping private photos private from the start could pay off for parents later, when said pictures may become a bargaining chip.
"We should all be holding on to the photos we have of our kids naked when they were young, because later, that's going to be an embarrassment for them," Daly said. "That'll make a nice little trade. Oh, you're gonna sue me? Oh yeah, how about this? Tubby time!"
In a TODAY Twitter survey, 86 percent of respondents said no, parents should not be penalized for posting photos of their kids online, while 14 percent said yes.