Legalities of Photographing the Signing of the Register
Couples, mothers, father, wedding photographers are regularly told by Registrars and Church Ministers alike that they are NOT allowed to photograph the signing of the register 'for data protection reasons'.
The reason often given is that you might capture personal details of other people who'd signed the register previously. Yet when you point out that they have just turned a new page, you're still told it doesn't matter; the Data Protection Act (DPA) still applies.
So the question is are the registrars or the rest of us misinformed; interestingly the Register is a public document which anyone can view just by asking. Why wouldn't someone be allowed to photograph it? The Commissioner's Office, which is the UK Government office responsible for administering the Act. Has said: &Principle 7 of the DPA states that 'appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.'"
Did that make sense to you! Well in practise what that means is that appropriate security measures should be in place to prevent data being accidentally or deliberately compromised, in other word fixed, falsified, changed...
Now even though the marriage register shows birth dates and other personal details. There is nothing recorded which is not already in the public domain through the Births and Deaths and as such, anyone who wishes to, can view the information contained. Therefore, the DPA does not apply in this instance to the signing of the Marriage Register.
If only it were that easy. An organisation can, if it so desires, make a decision not to allow your to photograph the register, but not on the grounds of the DPA.
So, it would seem that the official line is : The Data Protection Act is not a valid reason to stop anyone photographing of the signing of the register.
One thing just to keep in mind though before your go off on a rant - The Registrars are in charge of their own register office.Therefore if they request no photographs during the signing of the registers, they they are I am afraid well within their rights to refuse you photography. However quoting the Data Protection Act as the reason why is simply wrong.