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Our constitution lays down the legal framework for the e. V., the legal entity running this website. Among other things, it explains our purpose and how we want to achieve that, it sets the rules concerning membership in our non-profit and it defines the decision-making process. It also ensures that the activities of our non-profit stay privacy-focused, transparent and free. Only the general assembly is allowed to make changes to the constitution.

As we are based in Germany, only the German version of our constitution is legally binding. This translation is only offered for convenience.
In cases where we think the English translation may be ambiguous, we have referenced the original German text [in square brackets] for clarification.

1. Name, registered seat and financial year


1.1 The association is to bear the name “ e. V.”.

1.2 The association’s registered seat is in Braunschweig, Germany. It has been established on June 14, 2018.

1.3 The financial year corresponds to the calendar year.

1.4 The association exclusively and directly pursues public benefit purposes as per the section “tax-privileged purposes” of the AO (German fiscal code).

2. Purpose


2.1 The association’s purpose is to:

a) support the general public in exercising their right to privacy (“right to informational self-determination”) by informing and advising them with all questions regarding personal data protection (as a fundamental human right as per Article 8(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union) and to thus advance the democratic government in the digital area as well as the education of the general public, and
b) provide information on data protection practices in companies and other organisations in order to protect the personal data of consumers and to this support consumer counselling and protection efforts with regards to digital networks.

2.2 These goals are achieved specifically by:

a) running and developing a generator for requests according to Articles 15 et seq. GDPR and thusly offering sample letters for such requests in order to support the general public in exercising their right to privacy,
b) offering and maintaining informational material (like articles, guides, reports, brochures, print magazines and videos) to further education, science and research through informing and advising the general public on topics like the consequences the use of digital networks has on their privacy, the rights and possibilities offered by the fundamental right to data protection and the the GDPR in particular, as well as on how to use these rights,
c) maintaining a freely-licensed database with details on how to contact companies, governmental and other organisations with privacy-related requests, as well as information on the potential categories of data stored by these companies; furthermore moderating user contributions to this database to allow for the exchange of information in the interest of consumer protection,
d) public outreach and the execution of campaigns, as well as organisation of or participation in talks, seminars and other events for the broad advising of the general public on the right to privacy and to further the debate concerning a fundamental right to informational self-determination, and
e) running and developing the open, free and publicly accessible online platforms (in German) and (in English), as well as potentially in other languages, that offer access to the generator as described in a) and the database as described in c), further make the informational material described in b) publicly accessible and finally advertise the public outreach as described in d).

2.3 The association acts for the common good and does not pursue its goals primarily for the purpose of profit making.

2.4 The association’s means may only be used for the purposes as laid down in this constitution. Its members do not receive payments from the association’s means.

2.5 No one may be favoured through payments which do not serve the association’s purpose or are disproportionally high.

2.6 People acting voluntarily are only entitled to the compensation of their own documented expenses [Ersatz nachgewiesener Auslagen].

3. Acquisition of membership


3.1 Any natural person or legal entity that supports the purposes of the association and intends to actively support them may become an active member.

3.2 Any natural person or legal entity that supports the purposes of the association and intends to contribute financially or materially to it may become a supporting member. Supporting members are to be informed about the activities of the association regularly.

3.3 A written application is required to become a member. In both cases, the board makes the final decision on the membership application.

4. Termination of membership


4.1 The membership ends:

a) with the death of the member,
b) by voluntary withdrawal,
c) by removal from the list of members,
d) by exclusion from the association, or
e) in the case of legal entities, by their dissolution.

4.2 Voluntary resignation requires a written declaration to a chairperson. Upon confirmation of the resignation by a chairperson, the resignation becomes effective immediately. There is no entitlement to reimbursement of already paid contributions.

4.3 A member may be removed from the list of members by decision of the board if, after two reminders, they are still in arrears with the payment of the membership fee. The member must be informed of the removal in writing.

4.5 If a member has grossly violated the interests of the association, they may be excluded from the association by decision of the general assembly. Before a decision is made, the member must be given the opportunity to personally justify themselves. A potential statement by the affected member must be read out at the general assembly.

5. Membership fees


5.1 Membership fees are to be collected from the members. The amount of the annual fee and its terms of payment are determined by the general assembly.

5.2 Minors are exempt from the obligation to pay membership fees.

5.3 Founding members may be exempted from the obligation to pay membership fees by the founding assembly.

6. Organisational bodies of the association


6.1 The association is comprised of the following bodies:

a) the board, and
b) the general assembly.

7. The board


7.1 The board is comprised of:

a) two chairpersons, who form the executive board in the sense of § 26 BGB (Germany), and
b) an arbitrary number of assessors [Beisitzer_innen], who are members of the extended board, but not of the executive board authorized to represent the association in the sense of § 26 BGB (Germany).

7.2 The association is jointly represented judicially and otherwise by its chairpersons. The right of representation, within the scope of a defined task, can also be delegated to an individual member of the executive board by a decision of the executive board or the general assembly.

7.3 The combination of multiple board positions in a single person is not permitted.

8. Term of office of the board


8.1 The executive board is elected by the general assembly for a period of two years from the day of the election. It will remain in office until the election of a new board.

8.2 If a chairperson resigns during the term of office, the executive board elects a substitute chairperson from among the members of the association for the remaining term of office of the resigning chairperson.

8.3 Assessors can be elected by the general assembly even during the current term of office of the board. However, their term of office ends regularly with the rest of the board.

9. Decision-making process for the board


9.1 In general, the executive board makes its decisions during board meetings, which are summoned by a member of the board in writing (especially by email) or by telephone. A notice period of three days must be adhered to in all cases. No prior notification of the agenda is required. The executive board possesses quorum if both chairpersons are present. Decisions have to be taken unanimously, opposing votes prevent the passing of a decision. Abstentions have no influence on the passing of a decision.

9.2 A session chair is to be appointed at a board meeting. The decisions of the board are to be recorded for evidence purposes and signed by the chairperson.

9.3 A decision of the executive board may also be made in writing (especially by e-mail) or by telephone, if all chairpersons express their approval of the proposed provision.

9.4 Assessors are to be invited to board meetings and have access to the minutes, but cannot participate in the decisions of the board.

10. The general assembly


10.1 Each active member present has one vote at the general assembly.

10.2 The general assembly is responsible in particular for the following matters:

a) accepting the board’s annual report; exonerating the board,
b) setting the amount and terms of the membership fees,
c) electing and dismissing the members of the board, and
d) deciding on potential amendments to the constitution, as well as a potential dissolution of the association.

11. Summoning of the general assembly


11.1 The regular general assembly is to take place at least once a year. It is summoned by the board through written invitation stating the agenda and with a notice period of two weeks. The period begins with the working day following the dispatch of the invitation. The invitation is sent in writing by post or electronically. The invitation is deemed to have been delivered to the member if it is addressed to the last contact the member has made the association aware of in writing. The agenda is set by the board.

12. Decision-making process for the general assembly


12.1 At the beginning of a meeting, the general assembly appoints a session chair and a minute-taker.

12.2 The voting method is set by the session chair. The vote has to be carried out in writing if one of the members present and entitled to vote requests so.

12.3 The general assembly is not open to the public. The session chair may allow guests. The general assembly decides on the admission of the press, radio and television.

12.4 Every duly summoned general assembly possesses quorum if at least two members are present.

12.5 The general assembly generally passes decisions by a simple majority of the valid votes cast (including abstentions). However, a majority of three quarters of the valid votes cast is required to amend the constitution (including the purpose of the association) and a majority of four fifths is required to dissolve the association.

12.6 Minutes are to be taken of the decisions of the general assembly. They are to be signed by the respective session chair and minute-taker. The minutes must contain the following information: Date and time of the assembly, the name of the session chair and of the minute-taker, the number of members present, the agenda, the individual voting results and methods. In the case of amendments to the constitution, the provision to be amended must be stated. The minutes are to be made available to the members.

13. Later requests for further agenda items


13.1 All members may request in writing to the board up to one week before the day of a general assembly that further items be added to the agenda. The board decides on the requests and can merge agenda items. A rejection is to be justified. The session chair has to extend the agenda accordingly at the beginning of the general assembly. The general assembly decides on the requests for additions to the agenda, which are only made at the general assembly. A majority of three quarters of the valid votes cast is required to accept such requests. Changes to the constitution, the dissolution of the association as well as the election and dismissal of board members can only be decided if the motions have been announced to the members with the agenda.

14. Extraordinary general assemblies


14.1 The board can summon an extraordinary general assembly at any time. Such an extraordinary assembly must be summoned if the interests of the association so require or if one tenth of all members demand such an assembly in writing, stating the purpose and reasons. Sections 10, 11, 12 and 13 apply accordingly to extraordinary general assemblies.

15. Liability


15.1 Volunteers, including the honorary board, are liable for damages which they cause during their activity in the association only for intent and gross negligence and are otherwise released from liability.

16. Dissolution of the association and devolution of the assets


16.1 The dissolution of the association can only be decided in a general assembly with the majority of votes specified in section 12. Unless the general assembly decides otherwise, the chairpersons are jointly authorized liquidators. The above provisions apply accordingly in the event of the association being dissolved for any other reason or losing its legal capacity.

16.2 If the association is dissolved or is no longer eligible for tax privileges, the assets of the association are transferred to a legal entity under public law or another tax-privileged entity for use in the advancement of the democratic government as per § 52(2)(2.) AO (German fiscal code).

17. OpenPGP keys


17.1 The OpenPGP keys with the following fingerprints (sorted by topic) are to be used for encrypted and signed communication with the association and to be administered by the board:

a) General matters: B64A 852D F7DF 855C A058 0A00 FC74 1754 62A7 EC35
b) Board matters: 2E72 EA5B DDE3 1730 58D7 F87D A0C1 C012 3E2B 296B
c) Privacy matters: CC13 973A F8FD 11D1 4D94 98A8 0269 92F0 CF2C BB2E

17.2 The board is to make the public keys mentioned in section 17.1 available by customary means (e.g. via public key servers).

18. Founding provision


18.1 The association is to be entered into the register of associations of the district court of Braunschweig. If changes or adjustments to the constitution are necessary for the entry into the register of associations or for the recognition as a public benefit organisation by the corresponding authorities, the board can implement these even without a decision of the general assembly. The board is hereby expressly authorized to do so.

The above constitution was established at the founding assembly on June 14, 2018 and last amended at the board meeting of August 2, 2018.

Signed by the founding members in Göttingen on June 14, 2018.