Privacy Rules Review
The FamilySearch platform as currently designed harbours one serious shortfall. It caters for those members who are content to publish their family trees for all other members to see, but hide their identity behind a cloak of privacy. There does not appear to be a facility for their trees to be accessed to share, edit, amend, add to or, more importantly, correct, and neither can the member be contacted for the resolve of any issues. They can publish whatever they like without fear of recourse or any regard for the consequences. But family trees do not exist in splendid isolation so false and/or misleading information in one tree can adversely impact a person’s heritage in another which may border on the libellous.
It is recommended that the publication of family trees be conditional that members’ identities also be accessible for sharing. Failure to agree should render a member ineligible to use this facility or else, should they have already published, have their trees removed from the site.
If members intend to build their own trees privately using the FamilySearch’s built-in program, then such trees should be private and inaccessible to members, as indeed home based trees are inaccessible. Members at the time of application should have the option to agree to either publish and share or to remain totally private, on the understanding that only members who agree to share would have access to another member’s family tree. As it now stands, members who elect to claim privacy enjoy unrestricted access to other members’ trees whilst their unsubstantiated trees remain inaccessible.