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LCH Website Privacy Policy

Introduction

Privacy policies on most websites tell you what the management of that website will and won’t do with the personal information you give them. However, because we collect almost no information from our visitors, the main purpose of this page is to explain our policy about including personal information about the staff and congregation of LCH on this website.

Except for forms allowing you to ask questions, submit prayer requests, or request information, LCH does not gather information from you, our visitors. If you do use one of these forms, the information you submit is never stored on our website. Instead, it is transmitted via email to the appropriate staff person and kept confidential.

We believe that it is important for us to state our policy because of concern about issues such as SPAM (unwanted email), personal harassment, and identify theft. The background information section following the policy statement describes these phenomena.

Privacy Policy

  1. We do our best to protect the personal information of everyone in the LCH ‘ohana. This information includes names, email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers. Home addresses and home phone numbers are never published on the website. Other information is handled somewhat differently for staff, for members and friends, and for children and youth.
    • For staff, we list names, office email addresses, and office phone numbers.
    • For adult members and friends, we frequently list first and last names for people who are group leaders or contacts and when they are involved in an activity that we are writing about.
    • For children and youth, we do not usually use names, either in articles/stories or in photo captions. In the rare instances where a child or youth is named in an article, only the first name is used.
    Even though home addresses and home phone numbers are never posted on the LCH website, this information is available on many other websites, such as online white pages and a number of people-finder sites. Thus, you can expect that this information is somewhere out there in cyber space.
  2. We sometimes do post email addresses for individuals who are group leaders or contact people. When we do post email addresses on the website, we code them in a special way so that they cannot be harvested by robots and used for SPAM but can still be read by human beings. This strategy is explained in the background information section below.
  3. We like to have photographs on our website to illustrate the variety of people and activities that characterize LCH. When we post pictures, we follow these guidelines:
    • Most photos are taken in public spaces and at public events.
    • We do not use photos that might be embarrassing, objectionable or hurtful to anyone in the picture.
    • We do not take photos of people we know are shy about having their pictures taken.
    • As stated above, we do not use names of children or youth in photo captions.
    • In most cases, we credit photographers on the page where their pictures are used, and we indicate copyright upon request.
    • We know that it is a privilege for us to use pictures of our members and friends on this website, and we will be happy remove any photo immediately upon request. Just ask the webmaster.

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Background Information

With more and more people using the Internet, there is greater and greater concern about protecting personal information. Everything posted on the Internet is available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection.

Improved search engines and the use of robots and spiders (automatic programs that “crawl” all over the Internet gathering information) mean that vast amounts of information can be gathered very easily. And this has increased concern about protecting our personal information.

While the media may have exaggerated these concerns, they are still real. Even though most personal information is available from other (non-online) sources, it is still wise to be careful about what information is made available on the Internet and how it is made available.

These are some of the most common concerns, along with some links to additional information and advice on protecting yourself and those close to you:

  • SPAM (unwanted email)—Not only is SPAM annoying to us as individuals, but it is also a major factor in the slowing down of the Internet. One reason for the increase of SPAM is the use of robots and spiders that harvest email addresses from websites. According to a 2003 study by the Center for Democracy & Technology, email addresses posted on web pages are a major source of SPAM. However, the study also found that even simple methods of disguising email addresses can be effective in reducing SPAM over a relatively short time.
  • The approach we are implementing on this website involves encoding email addresses (for example, representing the @ character by the code @) so that robots and spiders do not recognize it as part of the email address. Your web browser and email program interpret these characters so that you can read them, but the robots and spiders miss them. If you look at the bottom of this page, you can read the email address easily. However, if you choose “View Source” from your browser menu and look near the end of the file, in place of the email address, you will see code beginning this way: webm.... You can do this yourself using this Email Address Encoder.
  • Harassing Personal Contacts—These contacts can include all sorts of undesired personal contacts, whether hate-mail, personal harassment, stalking, or pedophilic advances toward children or youth. These problems may be more common in chat forums than on web pages. While (as described in this February 2008 article by New York Times technology writer David Pogue explains) incidents of sexual predation may not be as common as we might think from the media, it is still an area of concern, and cyber bullying is a growing concern. (The article has a link to a January 2008 Frontline documentary, “Growing Up Online,” which explores various aspects of teenagers on the Internet.)
  • Identity Theft—Recent increases in identity theft highlight the need to protect personal information. However, as this 1998 article from U.S. News shows, it is not a new phenomenon.

Here are two websites with lots of information about protecting yourself and your loved ones:

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