You’ve probably heard a lot in the news about internet privacy and may have heard the term, “GDPR” thrown around online. Here at Ekklesia 360, privacy and security is always a priority. We emphasize security in everything we do and believe that you should feel the same when it comes to the privacy and security of those that you interact with. That’s why we’ve taken some time to create this helpful article to explain some of the common questions and concerns revolving around recent updates to internet privacy laws and how you can ensure that your church is in compliance.
Important To Note
In this article, we will especially focus on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CA OPPA). Both are very similar, aiming to protect individuals privacy while they are online, which is a great thing. So, what does this mean for you? Well, churches are always striving to reach out to their respective communities. This means that there are many occasions and methods used to gather information, including things like creating forms, hosting an online member database, and even selling merchandise in some cases. All of these have one specific thing in common, they gather personal data.
The European Commision defines examples of personal data as:
- a name and surname
- a home address
- an email address such as
- an identification card number
- location data (for example the location data function on a mobile phone)
- an Internet Protocol (IP) address
- a cookie ID*
- the advertising identifier of your phone
- data held by a hospital or doctor, which could be a symbol that uniquely identifies a person
So, what should your church’s response be to this? We suggest that it’s always best to err on the side of compliance. So as a company that assists churches in equipping the saints of God by providing an online platform (websites), we see the need to provide a resource for you that will help you educate yourselves about internet privacy and consider whether you ought to implement any changes or seek further legal counsel to ensure your compliance.
It is a page that describes what information you are collecting and what you intend to do with it.
- FreePrivacyPolicy.com (this one is really good)
- Better Business Bureau
Here are links to the laws, themselves:
As stated previously, this article is meant to be a resource for general information and help you discover on your own how your church should respond to these new privacy laws. This is not intended as legal advice and should only serve as an informative resource.
* Cookies are tiny text files that are stored on a user’s browser. Most cookies contain a unique identifier called a cookie ID: a string of characters that websites and servers associated with the browser on which the cookie is stored. This allows websites and servers to distinguish the browser from other browsers that store different cookies, and to recognize each browser by its unique cookie ID.
Cookies are widely used by websites and servers to provide many of the basic services we find online. If you shop on a website, a cookie allows the website to remember which items you’ve added to your virtual shopping cart. If you set preferences on a website, a cookie allows the website to remember your preferences the next time you visit. Or if you sign into a website, the website might use a cookie to recognize your browser later on, so that you don’t have to sign in again. Cookies also allow websites to collect data about user activity, such as how many unique visitors a page receives per month. All these applications depend on the information stored in cookies.