Upon becoming a publisher, a person acknowledges that the worldwide religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses—including the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, local branch office, and similar cooperating organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses—lawfully uses personal data in accordance with its legitimate religious interests. Publishers willingly provide personal data to their congregation as outlined in the book Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will so that they may participate in religious activities in connection with their worship and so that they may receive spiritual support.—1 Peter 5:2.
Publishers may provide additional personal data to Jehovah’s Witnesses as they engage in other religious activities. Personal data may include name, date of birth, gender, date of baptism, contact information, or information related to spiritual well-being, field ministry activity, or any roles held among Jehovah’s Witnesses. The data includes information that would reveal the publisher’s religious beliefs and may also include other sensitive personal data. Use of personal data may mean collecting, recording, organizing, structuring, and storing that data, as well as similar operations performed on that data.
The Data Protection Law in this country is:
Federal Act on Data Protection (DSG).
Under this Data Protection Law, publishers consent to the use of their personal data by Jehovah’s Witnesses for religious purposes, including the following:
participating in any meeting of a local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and in any volunteer activity or project;
choosing to participate in a meeting, an assembly, or a convention that is recorded and broadcast for the spiritual instruction of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide;
attending to any assignments or fulfilling any other role in a congregation, which includes the publisher’s name and the assignment being posted on the information board at a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses;
maintaining the Congregation’s Publisher Record cards;
recording emergency contact information to be used in the event of an emergency.
Personal data will be kept for an unspecified period of time for as long as the purposes stated above or other legitimate purposes apply. If a publisher chooses not to sign the Notice and Consent for Use of Personal Data form, Jehovah’s Witnesses may not be able to evaluate the publisher’s suitability to fulfill certain roles within the congregation or to participate in certain religious activities.
Personal data may be sent, when necessary and appropriate, to any cooperating organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Publishers understand that some cooperating organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses may be located in countries whose laws provide different levels of data protection, which are not always equivalent to the level of data protection in the country from which they are sent. However, publishers understand that any recipients of their personal data, which could include cooperating organizations at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States, will use that data only in accordance with the Global Data Protection Policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Publishers have the right to access, to request deletion or restriction of processing of, and to correct any inaccuracies regarding their personal data held by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Publishers may at any time revoke their consent with regard to certain future uses of their personal data. If a publisher withdraws consent for the use of personal data, Jehovah’s Witnesses may be entitled to continue to use some personal data without such consent, based on the legitimate religious purposes of maintaining and administering worldwide membership information of Jehovah’s Witnesses or on another lawful ground provided for in the Data Protection Law. Publishers are aware that they have a right to lodge a complaint with the data protection supervisory authority in the country in which they currently reside.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have adopted various procedural and technical safeguards, in accordance with the Data Protection Law, to protect personal data. Publishers understand their personal data will be accessed only by a limited number of authorized persons to fulfill the above purposes.
Any inquiries to the relevant data protection officer may be sent via e-mail to:
Publishers understand that the identity of and contact information for the data controller in the country in which they reside, and where applicable, of its representative and its data protection officer, can be found on the Data Protection Contacts page of jw.org.
It may be that our data practices change from time to time because of changes to our religious activities, the law, or the nature of technology. If ever it becomes necessary to change this Use of Personal Data page, we will post those changes on this page so that publishers are always aware of what information we collect and how we use it. Please check back from time to time for changes to this page.