This is the first edition of our policies page. If we update it, we will state so here and at the bottom of this page under "Policy Updates", where you will have access to all preceding versions of this policy for your information. We reserve the right to update our policies without notice.
NOTE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN UPDATED & REPLACED

exFamily.org Mission Statement

exFamily.org is a website supported by a group of volunteers and has a threefold purpose:
  1. To be a dynamic resource of information about the Family of Love (a.k.a Children of God and other pseudonyms)
  2. To provide tools which enable convenient access to that information
  3. To help current and ex members to process their past to move on and create their future

exFamily.org Policies & Disclaimer

  1. This site may contain material unsuitable for minors.

  2. The articles contained within this web site are provided without profit by exFamily.org and are intended to be available to anyone interested in the topics includedófor educational purposes only.

    The information was posted to offer the public a resource primarily concerning but not limited to the Children of God a.k.a. Family of Love a.k.a. The Family, one of the many controversial and potentially unsafe groups normally characterized as 'cults'.

  3. exFamily.org does not necessarily endorse or support the views expressed in these articles unless authorship is specifically attributed to exFamily.org staff writing in an official capacity.

  4. The quotation of David Berg and material by the Family/FOL/COG may include racist propganda, harsh demeaning terms, perverse sexual topics, illegal activities and various other directives and views which we do not in any form endorse. In quoting them here, exfamily.org wishes to educate the public on the practices or former practices, endorsements or former endorsements of The Family which are at times practiced in secret unbeknownst to the general public.

  5. The staff of exFamily.org may not be held liable for controversial content in articles published by the Family/COG/FOL, including material deemed expired in validity and recalled, or intended only for internal use. Such articles while criticical of the Family/COG/FOL or its representatives represent the truth of their current and past core beliefs and serves the public interest [2, 3, 6]. We welcome rebuttal and/or discussion of such articles by representatives of the Family/COG/FOL on our bulletin boards.

  6. exFamily.org hosts/posts information for the convenience of researchers. Any publisher, webmaster or news service (i.e., verifiable official and legal holder of copyright) that objects to their material being included in this archive, may request that it be removed. An offical request made in writing by the copyright holder will be honored.

    NOTE: THIS POLICIES PAGE HAS BEEN UPDATED & REPLACED

  7. All META tags, page titles, keywords, and other content descriptions used throughout this site are only intended to assist search engines for research purposes. exFamily.org does not intend to mislead anyone by implying any official representation and/or relationship betweeen this site and the owners of any trademarks, service marks and/or copyrights, which may contain the same keywords and/or titles.

  8. Opinions and views expressed on this site through articles and direct publishing media such as our bulletin boards, personal web spaces, chat rooms and "CQ" announcements, are not necessarily those of the exFamily.org staff, and as an agent for the delivery of content submitted by the general public, the exFamily.org staff may not be held liable for material posted or published online which might be deemed offensive or disturbing.

  9. Participants of the bulletin board discussions post at their own discretion. While exFamily.org respects all bulletin board participants' right to anonymity and does its utmost to shield the origins of posts through usage of good Internet security tools, it will not be held liable in the event any such information is traced by third parties and/or other participants.

    exFamily.org endeavours to safeguard the privacy of all participants, and may not be held liable for oversights and infringements of any nature.

  10. exFamily.org reserves the right to intervene at its own discretion when the well-being of another is jeopardized (other than by legal means) by deletion of content, censorship and/or barring.

    exFamily.org will not intervene in cases regarding the naming of names of key public figures and/or corporations, when the preponderance of information suggests that public interest for disclosure outweighs the need for nondisclosure, according to provisions in the Freedom of Information Act. For more information please see our Advisory & Policy on Naming Names.

  11. exFamily.org reserves the right at its own discretion to remove, include or exclude any articles, posts and/or other information submitted by the public, including but not limited to information received through direct input sources such as our bulletin boards, personal page publishing services and announcement boards.

  12. exFamily.org operates in a non-editorial capacity and will not modify or edit any posts or articles submitted through the usual areas of input available to the general public. exFamily.org reserves the right to delete posts and articles containing sensitive and/or unsuitable information at it own discretion.


Your privacy on exFamily.org


This section deals with your privacy as a user of this site. For our policy on providing and making public information about 3rd parties, please see our Advisory & Policy on Naming Names.


exFamily.org is a website supported by a group of volunteers and has a threefold purpose:
  1. To be a dynamic resource of information about the Family of Love (a.k.a Children of God and other pseudonyms)
  2. To provide tools which enable convenient access to that information
  3. To help current and ex members to process their past to move on and create their future
We want you to feel secure when visiting our site and are committed to maintaining your privacy. We want to be upfront with the different standard mechanisms in place that may interest you in regards to your information. You should be aware of the two types of information related to your visit that may be available to exFamily.org:
  • Indirect information
    ...is routinely collected in log files - this is the standard practice on all Internet web servers - anywhere you surf on the Internet, webservers will log your information. This information does not readily identify you nor constitute an invasion of your privacy.

    Two examples of this information:
    1. the type of Internet browser your computer is using
    2. the Internet number (IP no.) you have been temporarily or permanently assigned by your (ISP) Internet Service Provider.

    There are technical and legal reasons as to why the collection of this information is necessary - for example for a web page to be delivered to your computer an Internet address (IP no.) is required.

    • Note: We do NOT currently use cookies - in the event of any changes in this regard, this page will be updated for your information.

    We do not store your information indefintely - most irrelevant old log data is purged and deleted routinely every month.

  • Direct Information
    ...is what you volunteer in a number of ways, some of which we describe in this Privacy Statement.

    • Volunteered Personal Information
      ...is what you voluntarily submit to us when we provide the opportunity to register for an event, a subscription or to participate in an online survey. When we collect this type of information, we will notify you as to why we are asking for information and how this information will be used. It is completely up to you whether or not you want to provide it.

    • Published Personal Information
      ...is any personal information you may provide through publishing on our online public forums such as: publishing your personal pages on our site, creating a voluntary profile of yourself in our Who's Who section, or through speaking about yourself on our bulletin boards and/or chat rooms. It is completely at your own discretion what you choose to publish through our site.

    • Volunteered and/or Published 3rd party information
      This section deals with your privacy as a user of this site. For our policy on providing and publishing information about 3rd parties, please see our Advisory and Policy on Naming Names.


Am I anonymous?
You are never truly anonymous - you leave trails wherever you go on the Internet, but these trails do not lead the average person directly to you. Obtaining such information about you often poses so much inconvenience that service providers will not fetch that information without a search warrant or subpoena. Neither exFamily.org nor the hosting service it uses will share information without a search warrant or subpoena.

Am I anonymous to other posters on the bulletin boards?
As a bulletin board user you are anonymous to other posters since they do not have access to log files, but you may make yourself recognizable through your writing style. Posting on our bulletin boards does not lead other posters to you unless you volunteer such personal information. The use of multiple pen names is permitted on our bulletin boards.

How do we use the information we do collect?
We may occasionally routinely monitor log data (indirect impersonal information) to see how users enter our site, how they navigate through the site, and what information was of interest to them. We analyze this information to determine what is most effective about our site, to help us identify ways to improve it, and eventually, to determine how we can tailor exFamily.org to make its use more effective.

Other log data collected from your use of our site's tools such as Spellcheckers, Bible Search, Glossary Search, etc, will help us to analyze common spelling errors, identify the most requested search words and topics, to identify lacks and problems with our designs, etc, and will help us to upgrade our functions to and better serve you.

Will we share this with outside parties?
exFamily.org will in all probability not be in a position to pass on any routinely collected log data as such data is purged regularly from our site.

Unless subpoenaed, we will not pass on what individual information we do have to third parties nor any advisors we may consult.

You decide what information to share
Before you submit any information, we will notify you as to why we are asking for specific information, and it is completely up to you whether or not you want to provide it.

What about sensitive personal data?
We do not seek to collect sensitive personal data through this site. Any data you may publish in our public online forums is voluntary and completely at your own discretion.

If we do seek to collect such data, we will ask you to consent to our proposed uses of the data, and we will provide you with the means to remove or update such data yourself through online tools and/or with the help of our webmaster.

As you use this site, you may incidentally provide some sensitive personal data. By providing us with such unsolicited data, you implicitly consent to our using it within the terms described in this Privacy Statement.

Do we give you access to your own submitted information?
Yes. You are entitled to know whether we hold information about you and, if we do, to have access to that information and require it to be corrected if it is inaccurate. You can do this by using our online forms (which are the same entry points where you voluntarily submitted this data), or by contacting us via our webmaster.

What about data security?

We take appropriate steps to protect and maintain the security of your data on exFamily.org. We will never share any data you do not explicitly give us the permission to make public and/or pass on to others.

You should understand that the open nature of the Internet is such that data may flow over networks without security measures and may be accessed and used by people other than those for whom the data is intended.

To enable the secure transfer of sensitive data, we provide SSL, which is considered to be one of the safest and most reliable methods of online security.

That's it in a nutshell. The short of it is: we are interested in maintaining your privacy and creating a valuable resource for you to use. If you have any questions now or during your visit, please contact us via our webmaster




Advisory & Policy on Naming Names

The short version
Generally speaking, it is advisable to use only biblical names of (ex)members of the COG/FOL/Family and not mix them up with legal names. Exceptions are when the person named is a public figure or high-ranking member of the Family and there is a need for the public to know, and/or when individuals with firsthand knowlege or experience of a criminal incident wish to make known their accusations which can hold up in court. If you wish to name names, you must read and abide by the detailed version of our policy below.

The detailed version
The purpose of our site makes the naming of names a necessity in certain situations, where in order for the documentation of events and criminal incidents to be credible and researchable, the time, the places and names of those involved must be mentioned. exFamily.org therefore allows the naming of names according to the following rules:
  1. "Family" names, the Biblical names used in the COG/FOL/Family, are understood to be pseudonyms created and used, among other things for the very purpose of disassociating and disconnecting a (ex)member from his/her true legal identity. It is therefore (with exception to points 3 to 5 below) the position of exFamily.org that the mention of such "Family" identities do not constitute a breach of privacy and may be used freely on our site.

    Allowances must however be made for the occasional unintentional connection between Family and legal identities, in cases where a person's Family and legal identities are the same, similar, interchangeable and/or overlapping. exFamily allows the mention of Family identities in good conscience (with exception to points 3 to 5 below) where an (ex)member's legal identity is not intentionally revealed.

  2. Unless the information is volunteered by the individual himself/herself, (with exception to points 3 to 5 below) legal names may not be connected in the same post or article to the individual's "Family" identity/identities.

    With exception to point 3 - 5 below, due to the free flow of information exFamily.org will not be held liable nor intervene in the event both a named individual's Family and legal identities appear separately (not in the same post or article) on our site with no intentional cross referencing.

Exceptions to the above rules:

  1. NOTE: The standard Family/COG/FOL practice was/is to protect the identities of the uppermost leadership, while exposing the identities of its followers - as an example of this the faces of top leaders are routinely re-worked in photographs featured in their own publications.

    exFamily.org intends to reverse that practice, because it is the upper echelons of the Family/COG/FOL leadership which are responsible for gathering reports, issuing directives and implementing policies which directly influence their members; they are the ones who are responsible for a large part of the conditions and events occurring in the lives of their individual adherents; they are especially responsible for the well-being of individuals and children who trust or have trusted them with guidance/leadership (as many will testify): the trust and the allegiance demanded and exacted of them was/is to the point of forsaking their own thinking and suspending their own decision-making mechanisms. It is further the opinion of exFamily.org that the upper leadership of the Family/COG/FOL has (also by their own admission) at times affected its followers for the worse.

    exFamily.org therefore acknowleges that there is a distinction between followers and leaders, and victims and perpetrators. In view of this distinction, and in our interest in providing reliable factual information to researchers and recourse to victims of abuse, we consider it permissible and sometimes necessary to name Family/COG/FOL leaders and perpetrators by their legal names.

    Furthermore, exFamily.org in good conscience understands it is well within its rights because according to the Freedom of Information Act updates:

    • "the fact that persons have placed themselves in the public eye may indeed lessen their expectations of privacy" [1];

    • there may indeed be "exceptional interests" we deal with, which "militate in favor of disclosure" of sensitive information [2];

    • the public interest for disclosure outweighs factors favoring nondisclosure [3] regarding key public figures and corporations related to the Family/COG/FOL;

    • in regards to key corporations of the Family/FOL/COG "personal privacy protection ... cannot be invoked to protect the interests of a corporation or association", including if not especially non-profit organizations; [4]

      Note: "While corporations have no privacy, personal financial information is protected, including information about small businesses when the individual and corporation are identical." [5]

    • there are no rights to privacy for deceased individuals [6]

      Note: exFamily.org in good conscience gives due consideration to the extension if any, of rights of privacy to surviving relatives and/or close associates.

  2. If names have been made public by court documents, legal authorities, or through the individuals own actions, or through the Family/FOL/COG's own public relations material, or through publicly available legal documents, they may be used with caution and consideration on the exFamily.org site.

  3. If accusations of wrong-doing are made and legal and/or Family name(s) is/are mentioned in accordance with the above paragraphs 3 and 4, the individual posting this information bears the responsibility of proving the accusations to be true, and should have personal firsthand testimony to the incident(s) (if you were present and/or it happened to you) and/or documented evidence of the same which can hold up in court.

    Those who take it upon themselves to name names connected to any accusations wrong-doing:

    • only truthfully state what they have experienced first-hand

    • do so at their own behest and risk

    • agree that exFamily.org is not a co-signatory to their claims - exFamily.org does not take on the responsibility of determining the truth or accuracy of such information

    • must be ready to answer for their accusations in a court of law - exFamily.org may be required to assist in providing information which will lead to the person(s) submitting such posts

    • agree that exFamily.org's sole role is to provide the medium and welcomes the rebuttal of the persons named.

    • agree to defend, indemnify save and hold harmless exFamily.org and other users from any and all demands, liabilities, losses, costs and claims (including attorney's fees)

    • agree that exFamily.org may not be liable for any claims of actual, compensatory and/or consequential damages which may be suffered as a result of such actions which are the responsibility of the original writer, the actual publisher of such information


    exFamily.org will intervene by deleting and/or barring if it deems that a person naming names has embarked on deliberately tortuous conduct by intentionally inflicting emotional distress, providing unnecessary personal information (such as the address of the named person accused of wrong-doing which should be strictly reserved for law enforcement authorities), failing to provide purely factual and rational firsthand information, and/or threatening or encouraging any actions other than legal actions against the named person accused of wrong-doing.

To be fair and credible, as a broad general policy we ask that anyone naming names should provide their own names or initials. While not necessarily the focus of the People's Section of our site, this is the recommended section to be used for such purposes.

In any other event, posters should kindly refrain from mentioning full legal names - initials or Family names can be used.


AREAS OF USER INPUT
WHICH CONCERN THE ISSUE OF PRIVACY
Apart from articles in the articles section which the exFamily.org staff place online, there are 4 areas where the general public can directly publish information which might contain personal information and information about 3rd parties, such as legal or Family/FOL/COG biblical names:
  1. The bulletin boards
  2. The People Section Personal Pages
  3. The CQ (Seek you) section
  4. The Who's Who voluntary profile section
The same basic Policy on Naming Names applies for each of the above, but the usage and nuances may differ slightly:
  1. The bulletin boards
    As a provider of interactive computer service with instant world-wide publishing media such as bulletin boards, exFamily.org cannot be held liable for the content posted by the general public, nor be held responsible for determining the truth or accuracy of information therein. [7] In that capacity, exFamily.org will not edit posts but may choose to delete them only if they are deemed unsuitable according to the bulletin board rules and guidelines.

  2. The People Section Personal Pages
    exFamily.org in acting as a publishing agent, allows ex-members of the Family/FOL/COG who sign on, the opportunity to create web pages where they may place information about themselves and tell their own stories online.

    A user who signs on to use exFamily.org's People Section Personal Pages will be called a "PP user" from hereon.

    While this is not the intended focus, usage of personal pages may inevitably include information about third parties and even information about alleged crimes and abuses by such third parties.

    Anyone naming names which are connected to allegations of wrongdoing should provide the same: If you mention Family/FOL/COG biblical names, you should at least supply your own Family/FOL/COG biblical name(s) and if possible legal name. If you mention legal names, you should supply your own legal name or initials.

    Allegations of wrongdoing will only be allowed if they are first-hand experiences. i.e. if it happened to the PP user or the PP user was present and witnessed it first-hand.

    By naming names, the PP user agrees to the conditions in our Advisory & Policy on Naming Names.

    If no allegations of wrongdoing are made, PP users should refrain from mentioning any legal names - Family/FOL/COG biblical names may be used. Please see our Advisory & Policy on Naming Names.

    To publish personal webpages on our site, a PP user will be required to have a valid email address which must be valid for the duration of their pages being online on our site. The PP user will be prompted routinely to reply to an automated mail, failing which any and all content posted will automatically be deleted after a short grace period.

    If anyone should challenge the veracity of the information published, exFamily.org will act as a liason for the exchange of emails between the challenging party and the PP user. If the PP user cannot be contacted, the contested hosted content will be removed after 14 days.

    Note: exFamily.org reserves the right to refuse applicants or PP Users permission to use our People's Section Personal Pages according to the rules and guidelines of that section. exFamily.org further reserves the right to delete, disallow and/or bar content and users without notice at its own discretion if it deems the material unsuitable for the site.

  3. The CQ (seek you) section
    In the interest of helping locate loved ones and relatives who are or were in the Family/FOL/COG legal names may have to be mentioned (sometimes it is the only name a relative knows). Users of this section may therefore post legal names in good faith for the sole purpose of locating a missing person. In accordance with our rules and guidelines for the CQ section, any posts which connect the named person(s) to allegations of wrongdoing or potentially embarassing activities will be deleted.

    exFamily.org does not verify the information posted in this section and cannot be held liable for the authenticity (or lack of) of information posted here by the general public: The mention of a party's legal name does not necessarily imply that the named party is or was associated with the Family/FOL/COG.

  4. The Who's Who section
    Regular users of bulletin boards and chat rooms may create a voluntary profile for reference by other users and visitors. These profiles are password controlled and may be updated by the users at will. exFamily.org reserves the right at the sole discretion of the coordinators to remove or bar users from posting info in this section if it deems the material to be unsuitable and/or or if the user in question has been banned from participation on the boards.

Footnotes:
Freedom of Information Act Update, Vol. III, No. 4 September 1982

[1] "To what extent are "public figures" entitled to the privacy protections of the Freedom of Information Act?

"The fact that persons have placed themselves in the public eye may indeed lessen their expectations of privacy."
See Common Cause v. National Archives & Records Service, 628 F.2d 179, 184 (D.C. Cir. 1980); Lamont v. Department of Justice, 475 F. Supp. 761, 778 (S.D.N.Y. 1979).

[2] "However, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has made it clear that 'public figures' are certainly entitled to privacy protection under the FOIA and that disclosure of particularly sensitive information about such persons is appropriate 'only where exceptional interests militate in favor of disclosure.'"
Fund for Constitutional Government v. National Archives & Records Service, 656 F.2d 856, 866 (D.C. Cir. 1981).

[3] "...Thus, there is a sound basis in both logic and law for agencies to focus on any public interest served by nondisclosure, to determine the 'net' public interest involved, and to determine whether perhaps any public interest factors favoring disclosure 'are outweighed by the very significant and tangible public interest' factors favoring nondisclosure."
Rushford v. Civiletti, 485 F. Supp. 477, 480 (D.D.C. 1980), aff'd mem., 656 F.2d 900 (D.C. Cir. 1981).


[4] "It is well settled that the FOIA's privacy exemptions provide personal privacy protection and cannot be invoked to protect the interests of a corporation or association."
See, e.g., Sims v. CIA, 642 F.2d 562, 572 n.47 (D.C. Cir. 1980); National Parks & Conservation Ass'n v. Kleppe, 547 F.2d 673, 685 n.44 (D.C. Cir. 1976).

[5] The only possible exception to this rule is that when a business is actually a closely-held corporation, or some other similarly-constituted business entity, Exemptions 6 and 7(C) may be invoked if disclosure would in effect invade an individual's privacy: "While corporations have no privacy, personal financial information is protected, including information about small businesses when the individual and corporation are identical." Providence Journal Co. v. FBI, 460 F. Supp. 778, 785 (D.R.I. 1978), rev'd on other grounds, 602 F.2d 1010 (1st Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1071 (1980). See also National Parks, supra, 547 F.2d at 686; cf. Zeller v. United States, 467 F. Supp. 487, 496-99 (E.D.N.Y. 1979).

[6]Can Exemptions 6 and 7(C) be applied to protect the privacy of deceased persons?

No, not directly, but careful consideration should be given to whether such protection can be extended to others. After death, a person no longer possesses privacy rights.
See Diamond v. FBI, 532 F. Supp. 216, 227 (S D.N.Y. 1981); but see Kiraly v. FBI, 3 GDS ∂82,466 (N.D. Ohio Mar. 15, 1982).

However, it is important to note that while privacy rights cannot be inherited by one's heirs, the disclosure of particularly sensitive personal information pertaining to a deceased person may well threaten the privacy interests of surviving family members or other close associates.
See, e.g., Lesar v. Department of Justice, 636 F.2d 472, 486-88 (D.C. Cir. 1980); see also Attorney General's Memorandum on the Public Information Section of the Administrative Procedure Act at 36 (1967).


[7] "According to US Federal Law, Under 17 U.S.C. sec. 230(c)(1): 'No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.' This provision has been uniformly interpreted by the Courts to provide complete protection against defamation or libel claims made against an ISP, message board or chat room where the statements are made by third parties"

[8] "Cookies" are lines of text placed on the Internet user's own computer. Internet servers which are programmed to do so can later retrieve those cookies from their computer and read them. Information such as pages you visited, data you previously submitted, passwords... almost anything about your habits can be registered and retrieved by servers which are programmed to perform such tasks.

Naturally, there has been much controversy and debate regarding the issue of cookies vs privacy, and laws were enacted and safeguards put in place to prevent the the collection of information without consent, the collection of private information for purposes of profiling, abuse of private/sensitive data, etc. In many countries it is illegal for such data to be passed on to 3rd parties, or made retrievable by 3rd parties.

Internet users are now able to protect themselves through disabling the cookies feature in their browser's settings, but this will disable the use of certain sites and services such as hotmail.com. Hotmail requires cookies to be placed on a user's computer to keep track of login security.

exFamily.org does not require the use of cookies.

Policy Updates

This is version 1.0
There are no updates at present - this is the first version of our policies page. If our policies are updated, you will be informed at the top of this page and links to previous versions will be provided in the space below.

Preceding versions:
(there are no preceding versions)

NOTE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN UPDATED & REPLACED

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