The Court of Justice of the EU just ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses must obtain consent from people before they take down their personal details during door-to-door preaching in order to comply with EU data privacy rules. See here the Reuters press note and here the more detailed European Court’s press release. It will obviously also apply to Mormon missionaries. The implementation as such seems simple: whenever missionaries make a promising contact, and want to record name, address and other data, they should ask permission. But how to record that permission since proof may be needed at a later date? On a written form with proper ID and signature? To what extent would this complication affect Mormon missionary work, since it may be assumed that the Church will obey the law, but also that many people would not want their name and address to be recorded in the data of a “sect”? The latter is precisely what triggered the lawsuit and the European Court’s decision. As a missionary, what were your experiences in tracting practices to keep track of (potential) investigators? How were such data kept and passed on to new missionaries? Would it still work under the new regulations?
The new European privacy laws no doubt raise other issues with Church membership records.Under what form should they be kept? What about access and availability of all information to each person concerned? What about records of members who don’t consider themselves members anymore and the obligation to inform them? What about the (electronic) ease with which people should now be allowed to request their data to be deleted? What about the restrictions to make personal data available outside the EU, since Church HQ in Salt Lake presumably has access to these data? GDPR seems to affect us in many ways. I am not an expert in these matters, but wonder to what extent the Church is working to comply with the law. Local leaders will probably be confronted with issues.
(This post was slightly expanded since the first version)