Kilimani nightclub fined Sh1.8m over reveler photo as Data Commissioner cracks whip

People drinking in a pub. Casa Vera Lounge was fined Sh1,850,000 for posting the image of a patron on its social media platform without the consent of the customer. 

Photo credit: Unsplash

What you need to know:

  • The agency also fined Roma School, an educational institution based in Uthiru, Sh4,550,000 for posting images of minors without parental consent.

Click on the social media pages of Casa Vera Lounge and you will be greeted by a plethora of pictures and videos of revellers having a good time.

The images range from men having a good time to women attending various events that are usually held at the Ngong Road entertainment venue.

However, the series of pictures and videos showing people having a good time has left the lounge staring at a loss of Sh1,850,000.

This is after a partygoer stumbled upon his picture doing the rounds on social media and when he tried to trace the source, he found it on the club's Facebook page.

The matter became the subject of an investigation by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC), which culminated in the fine.

Clubs have been sharing images of people in skimpy outfits, in compromising positions or in places they should not be for years.

Some of the videos and images shared on social media platforms are usually taken without the consent of the subjects.

Social media has proven to be a great platform for marketing businesses, but the move to fine the club will now force the management back to the drawing board on how best to ensure their business is known without breaching privacy.

Interestingly, the club has not stopped posting pictures of revellers and staff. Yesterday, the ODPC issued a statement saying it had fined the club and two other organisations Sh9.3 million.

"The (ODPC) has issued three penalty notices to three data controllers for failing to respect the rights of data subjects and also for failing to comply with the Data Protection Act," the statement said.

The ODPC said the fines were issued under sections 62 and 63 of the Data Protection Act, 2019, and regulations 20 and 21 of the Data Protection (Complaints Handling Procedure and Enforcement) Regulations, 2021.

As in the case of the Casa Vera Lounge, if you click on the social media pages of the Roma School, located in the heart of Uthiru on the outskirts of Nairobi, you will find numerous images and videos of minors posted.

The images and videos range from young girls and boys in school uniforms reciting poems to other photos of students in class.

It is the pictures, which are stylish and attractive, that have cost the school Sh4.5 million.

This was after an angry parent was shocked to find the pictures of her child on Facebook without her consent. The parents decided to complain to the ODPC and an investigation was launched.

When the investigation began in July, the school stopped its frequent social media posts. In the end, it received the largest fine ever imposed on an educational institution.

This is not the first time a learning institution has been slapped with such a fine. In March 2023, Machakos University was ordered to pay Sh700,000 to a former student.

Ms Catherine Njeri Wanjiru had sued Machakos University in October 2021, claiming that it had violated her right to privacy and human dignity by publishing her photographs for commercial advertising without her consent and "for personal financial gain". Ms Wanjiru based her argument on Articles 28 and 31 of the Constitution.

"It is declared that the petitioner's intellectual property rights, right to publicity and personality rights were infringed when the respondent decided to publish the petitioner's image in advertising and marketing the computer package courses offered for financial gain without seeking the petitioner's consent," the judge said in the landmark ruling.

The other company fined yesterday was Media Pride Limited, a digital credit company trading as KeCredit and Faircash.

ODPC ordered the company to pay a fine of Sh2.97 million, which is also the highest ever imposed on a digital credit company.

“Media Pride Limited was found guilty of using complainants' names and contact details obtained from third parties to send threatening messages and phone calls. This penalty will ensure that digital lenders and financial institutions inform data subjects when collecting and processing their data," the ODPC statement added.

This, the ODPC said, is a way of ensuring that such companies only deal with data subjects when recovering funds.