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SDA Digital Privacy


Gregory Matthews
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Adventist Giving is the common name for a method that allows SDAs Internationally to donate funds to the SDA church.   I am not going to discuss this this digital method.  For more information see.         https://www.adventist.org/giving/

eAdventist is a website that contains personal information probably about every SDA member in the North American Division.  It is run by Brian Ford and I became aware of it through a speech that he gave at the recent NAD meetings.  He has an office at the NAD headquarters.

My comments on this website have been influenced by my conversations with other people, so he is not responsible for every comment that I may make, and may not agree with it.   I have also had conversations with Brian Ford both by telephone and by e-mail.  I especially appreciate the conversations that I have had with Brian Ford.  I have found him to be honest, transparent and quite willing to dialogue with people on the role and function of this Internet website.  He and I are not in total agreement and my comments in this message should not be construed as comments with which he would agree.  If you wish to contact him, you my e-mail him at:    brian@eadventist.net

eAdventist is intended to contain information on every SDA living in North America that may be of use to the SDA denomination in its normal operation. As an example, the Union papers that you receive obtain your address from eAdventist.  So, it is clear that at the present time it contains member names and mailing address.

As I understand it, some denominational administrators have wished that eAdventist contained financial information from Adventist Giving.  Mr. Ford has strongly opposed this and at the present time it does not contain any financial information obtained from Adventist Giving.

eAdventist obtains it information by the following process.  The Clerk of the   congregation that holds a persons’ membership sends information to the Local Conference.  That Conference then sends that information to eAdventist.   In my conversations with people, I have been given credible evidence that some people seem to have more than one account with eAdventist. I do not intend to discuss this further.

Under the present process, a person may obtain information as to what personal date is in their eAdventist account by requesting the local congregational clerk to inform them as to the information supplied to the Local conference.  In addition the person may request that the Local Conference President inform as to the information supplied to eAdventist.  IOW, eAdventist does not intend to directly inform the individual as to the personal information that has been stored.  eAdventist, as I understand it will supply the individual with general information as to how their information about the person is shared with others.  But eAdventist is not able (willing?) to provide specific information related to the individual account.  I am not satisfied with this process.   I find it convoluted.  Local Conference Presidents do not have the time to respond to members who want information.  In addition, I have reason to believe that individual accounts may have information that did not come from the Local Conference.

California had enacted the strongest digital privacy in this nation.  It is known as the California Privacy Rights act (CPRA). Information on this law may be obtained by accessing: 

https://privacyrights.org/resources/california-privacy-rights-act-overview

 That law establishes the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA).   The CPPA is designed to determine how the statute will be enforced.  It is not yet fully operational.  Presently it has published a 73 page document on how it proposes to operate.  Information on the CPPA may be obtained by accessing:     https://www.cppa.ca.gov/

The major question at this point is whether or not CPRA applies to eAdventist.  I believe that under CPPA eAdventist may be required to comply with the statute.

However, under the statute, the California Attorney General presently has the exclusive power to prosecute violations of CPRA.  The Attorney General has issued a ruling that seems to say that CPRA does not apply to eAdventist.  For more information on this see Question # 5 on the following website.     https://www.oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa

Personally, I believe that this ruling could be challenged. But, I acknowledge that my thinking is novel and therefore a long-shot.  One of my concerns is that one cannot be assured that the present conditions will remain unchanged.

Therefore, at the present, SDA members have no privacy protection rights, related to eAdventist, under the CPRA.

 

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