Terms of Service

PoliCAT.org’s mission is to unite people unite across languages, cultures and nations for their causes and to allow individuals and civil society organisations to seek shared values and join forces for the common good. PoliCAT.org encourages collaboration and helps you organise networked campaigns, while keeping your data yours. We do need rules to keep our service safe for you, us and the activists who participate in your actions. These Terms of Service outline rights and responsibilities related to our platform and services.

1. Scope

1.1. The platform on PoliCAT.org (hereafter named “PoliCAT.org”) is a service for individual citizen and civil society organisations, provided and operated by PoliCAT UG (haftungsbeschränkt), Akazienstraße 6, 39126 Magdeburg, Germany. The following terms of service apply to the use of the platform PoliCAT.org.

1.2. PoliCAT.org uses the open-source software PoliCAT. This is a software as a service in beta mode. We are continuously developing the software. Let us know your ideas and requirements for improvement and additional features. We are looking forward to realise your ideas together with you. Developers are welcome to contribute to the software via git.hub.

1.3. At PoliCAT.org, you can start your own petitions and other types of e-actions (hereafter named “petitions”), publish it on your website and further distribute it on the web, generate and manage lists of petition targets, generate and export lists of petition signers, and mailing-list subscribers. Users of your PoliCAT petition widgets can sign up and comment on your petitions, send emails to selected campaign targets, request them to publish their stance or pledge on your demands, share your petition and the web-pages your petition widgets are embedded via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and generate and embed a widget of your action on their own website or blog.

2. Use of PoliCAT.org

2.1. Visiting and using PoliCAT.org is basically open to all internet users. PoliCAT.org campaigns and petitions can be used to represent organisations and initiatives. However, petitions and data on PoliCAT.org may only be managed by natural persons, irrespective of whether they represent an organisation or not; each natural person accessing PoliCAT.org is required to do so via their own, personal user account.

2.2. PoliCAT.org is available for non-commercial use only, except when using it to provide bespoke services to non-commercial entities (e.g.: a web agency may use PoliCAT.org for an integrated services to a non-commercial NGO client).

2.3. PoliCAT UG has no obligation to host or otherwise support your petition on PoliCAT.org. Hosting and support are at the discretion of PoliCAT UG and the Terms of Service.

2.4. PoliCAT UG does not take any legal responsibility for your actions. PoliCAT UG reserves the right to take steps to ensure compliance with the Terms of Service; in particular, this includes modifying PoliCAT.org petitions, hiding PoliCAT.org petitions from the public, deleting PoliCAT.org petitions, deleting comments and messages.

2.5. To keep costs low for all users, we adjust the server capacity for PoliCAT.org to provide excellent performance at normal usage. You should inform us well in advance of launching big actions (that is if you expect more than 5.000 signings per hour) so that we can reserve sufficient server capacity for your action.

2.6. PoliCAT UG has the right to publish its own petitions on PoliCAT.org.

3. User accounts

3.1. To start a petition, you must first create a user account. When setting up your account, you must provide accurate, up-to-date and complete information, including a valid email address. You should regularly visit your user account to check if the data is complete and up-to-date.

3.2. A user account must represent a natural person. If a campaign or petition is administered by several people of a group or organisation, any person needs to create their own user account and join the respective campaign account as administrator or e-action editor. Sharing a user account is prohibited. This ensures clarity and accountability on who can access to sensitive data, such as personal data of signers.

3.3. There is no age restriction for the use of PoliCAT.org. However, if you are under the age of 16, you may not use PoliCAT.org or enter your personal data, unless under the supervision and with the consent of your parent or legal guardian. In any case, if you are younger than 16 you may not buy a package for a campaign, or take the role of data privacy officer or widget data owner, or ask for donations using your account by yourself, but we encourage you to invite a parent or guardian to administer a campaign for you, and support you in starting and managing your petition. If we discover that you have purchased a package, or gained access to personal data of signers e.g. by taking on the role of data privacy officer or widget data owner, or have used your account asking for donations, and you are younger than 16, we will terminate your account. Also, we will promptly and without prior notice remove any personal information from children under 16 upon request by parents and legal guardians.

3.4. You have complete responsibility for your account and everything that happens on your account, including for any harm or damage (to us or anyone else) caused by someone using your account without your permission. This means you need to be careful with your password, not to disclose it to third parties and to grant third parties no other means of access to your access data. You may not transfer your account to someone else or use someone else’s account without their permission. Inform us immediately upon learning that someone else may be using your account without your permission by contacting us through the Contact page or service chat.

3.5. You can delete your account on PoliCAT.org at any time in the "Your Profile" area. In the event of an infringement or violation of the Terms of Service, PoliCAT UG may suspend or delete your account with immediate effect and without prior notice.

3.6. Upon deletion of the account, you will lose access to campaign accounts, petitions and any target or signer data. Campaigns, petitions and data lists will not be affected and might remain accessible to users that have shared access rights. Petitions may remain published and active. PoliCAT UG is entitled to hide, block or delete “stray” petitions or campaigns i.e. those without associated user accounts to manage them; this includes petitions with signer data held by widget owners; there is no obligation to do so. As part of PoliCAT UG’s rights of use under Section 8, PoliCAT UG may accept and continue stray petitions in accordance with their specific privacy policy.

4. Posting petitions and other user content

4.1. Petitions are permitted insofar as they promote a socially just, environmentally sustainable and peaceful society, democratic participation and citizenship, tax justice, equal rights, international justice and peaceful conflict resolution. 4.2. You’re responsible for the content you upload, post and publish on PoliCAT.org. Abide by the law and respect the right of others. You represent, warrant and agree that no content of any kind submitted through your account or otherwise posted or shared by you through PoliCAT.org violate applicable law, in particular copyright, trademark, design or press law. Petitions, messages or comments that contain racist, violent, sexist, discriminatory, libelous, defamatory, infringing, abusive, harassing, fraudulent, hateful or otherwise objectionable statements are prohibited. Also inadmissible are petitions, messages or any other content that contain insults, slander, threats, bullying or the degradation of other persons, ethnic groups or religious beliefs or otherwise violate the personal rights of third parties; the same applies to commercial advertising or spam. 4.3. To publish a petition, you have to create at least one petition widget and embed it into you webpage or blog. PoliCAT.org does not provide a direct link or search to your petition unlike other petition platforms. Instead, PoliCAT.org allows you to direct your supporters and activists to your own website, where they can sign your petition, share it and/or create their own widget to embed it into their page or blog in order to support your cause. You can run as many petitions as you like, also in parallel. 4.4. You can turn off the public visibility of your PoliCAT.org petition and all related widgets at any time by clicking changing the status of your petition in the petition settings (e.g. from “active” to “draft” or “blocked”). The petition is thus still stored, but no longer publicly available; widgets embedded on other websites will not show. You can reactivate your hidden petition at any time. 4.5 Any user of the internet can share active petitions via email, Facebook and Twitter with friends, acquaintances and other interested parties, as well as create and embed new petition widgets onto their own web-pages or blogs, using the buttons provided in the petition widgets and thereby disseminating the petition on social media and the internet.

5. Campaign accounts and packages

5.1. Your petitions are organised into campaign accounts. A campaign account can be understood as an umbrella for petitions on a similar issue. When starting a new petition, you will be able to tie it to an existing campaign you are member of, or create a new campaign for it. 5.2. Personal data of petition signers can be merged and managed on campaign level. A campaign can have multiple administrators; only one campaign administrator can take the role of “data privacy officer” (DPO) – usually the first who creates a campaign. Only the DPO can access personal contact data (e.g. email or postal addresses) of “subscribers” – these are petition signers who ticked the box that they want to be kept informed by you; that means they consented that you may keep and use their email or postal addresses.

5.3. To activate a petition, you need to have an active package in the campaign your petition is tied to. Find out more about packages on our Pricing page. Package orders can be paid online instantly or by wire transfer within 14 days. You might have to wait a few days until we have confirmed your transfer and activated your package. Without an active package, you can still prepare your petition, create and embed petition widgets, but visitors of your widgets won't be able to take part (yet).

6. Signing petitions

6.1. Any user of the internet can sign an active petition, as long as there is an active (paid, valid) package in the campaign the petition is tied to. To be able to see and sign a petition, at least one widget of this petition has to be created and embedded in another web-page or blog.

6.2. Signers of a petition must provide a valid email address and, if set so by the user who set up the petition, other personal data and/or a comment. The act of signing implies the signer has read and agrees with the individual petition’s privacy policy. It is the sole responsibility of the user who administers the petition that its privacy policy is in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other applicable law, and that the data is used only in ways explicitly stated therein.

6.3. Upon signing a petition, a confirmation email is sent to the email address provided by the signer. This email contains an email verification link that must be clicked in order to ensure the validity of a signing and to conform with the EU GDPR and other data protection legislation (“double-opt-in”). As a standard, PoliCAT will automatically delete signer data with unvalidated email addresses after a certain period of time (users can disable that function e.g. to access this data for research, but are reminded that signer data without validated email addresses not be accurate, and using it might infringe the GDPR and other laws).

6.4. Each PoliCAT.org petition comes with its own privacy policy. The administrator (with the user role of data privacy officer, DPO) of the petition you sign is responsible for the legality and correctness of its privacy policy and is strictly prohibited to your data in any other way than stated in therein. Any data you provide, especially your email or postal address, may be used by the administrators of that petition and any other party only for purposes stated explicitly in the petition’s privacy policy.

6.5. Your name as signatory or participant of a petition, your city, country and possibly other data is considered public data, unless otherwise stated in the petition’s privacy policy. After signing a PoliCAT.org petition, your full name, city and/or country might be printed, published and displayed on any website, e.g. as part of a signers’ list that can be added to petition widgets.

6.6. If you signed a petition and ticked the box that you would like to be kept informed about this and similar campaigns, the campaign administrator (DPO) of the petition, or a widget owner who gained exclusive ownership over the signer data collected via their widget, will be able to access, export and download your email or postal address, unless otherwise stated in the petition’s privacy policy; this is so they can add you to their mailing list and keep you informed about causes and campaigns you might want to know more about, or continue to engage on. You can cancel your subscription at any time, either by using the unsubscribe links in the confirmation email you received from PoliCAT.org, by contacting the petition’s data privacy policy officer (DPO) – you’ll find their contact information in the petition’s privacy policy –, or by unsubscribing from the respective mailing list (not part of PoliCAT.org).

7. Manage and export personal data

7.1. Users with editor- or administrator-access to a petition, can download and use a list of all signers of this petition, including all data that is considered public (“participants list”), e.g. in order to print it out and hand it over to their petition targets. This list does not include email or postal addresses.

7.2. Users that are administrators (DPOs) of a campaign, a petition is tied to, can also access and download personal data including email or postal addresses, however only of the subset of signers who explicitly asked to be kept informed of the proceedings of this or similar campaigns (“mailing addresses”); the same applies to widget owners who were granted exclusive ownership and access to signer data collected via their own widget (this right can be requested from, granted or denied by the respective DPO).

7.3. Users who export and download personal data are solely responsible for the responsible use of this data in accordance with the EU GDPR and other applicable law. PoliCAT UG cannot be held responsible for any infringement in relation to the storing, further processing or use of data exported and downloaded by a user.

8. Rights of use

8.1 Users of PoliCAT.org are permitted to use, download, store, print, share or modify any content accessible to the user, such as templates for petitions, emails and privacy policies, translations of user interfaces, guidance and help texts. Otherwise, all rights reserved. Commercial use is expressly prohibited. Any other use and use of content and data by PoliCAT.org requires the written consent of PoliCAT UG.

8.2. The user grants PoliCAT UG the unlimited, transferable and royalty-free right to use any “public” content published by the user on PoliCAT.org, i.e. any content that may appear in petition widgets, petition emails or emails to signers, in any way. This includes, in particular, the right to distribute, reproduce or otherwise make publicly available “public” content of the user, in any medium and in any manner whatsoever. This includes the right to edit the content. The transfer of rights shall continue to apply in the event of a deletion of the account in accordance with Section 3 or in the case of any deletion of content on the part of the user on PoliCAT.org.

8.3. The user grants PoliCAT UG the unlimited, transferable and royalty-free right to make “target lists” available to third parties, e.g. other users of PoliCAT.org, as paid or as complimentary service; this may include any data collated, uploaded and organised by the user in the form of a “target list”, e.g.: names, email addresses, social media IDs, group or party affiliation.

8.4. Any other nonpublic personal data stored or processed on PoliCAT, in particular the names, email and address data of petition signers (“mailing addresses”) remain exclusively in the domain and responsibility of the respective user: that is the petition’s campaign administrator holding the data privacy officer role (DPO), or a widget-owner in case the DPO granted and transferred exclusive access and ownership rights to personal signer data collected via the respective widget.

9. Liability

9.1 The user of PoliCAT.org is responsible for the contents published by him/her, in particular for the petition created by him/her. PoliCAT UG is not liable for the content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or legality of the PoliCAT.org petitions and other content published by users.

9.2 The user indemnifies PoliCAT UG against any claims third parties assert against PoliCAT UG based on content published by PoliCAT.org by the user, in particular due to PoliCAT.org petitions. The user is obliged to compensate PoliCAT UG for damages caused by third party claims. This includes the costs of legal defense. The User supports PoliCAT UG in defending such claims, in particular by providing all information necessary and necessary for defense purposes.

9.3 The liability of PoliCAT UG is excluded as far as legally permissible. In particular, this disclaimer applies if any of PoliCAT.org’s services should be unavailable, PoliCAT.org petitions and other content are not published on PoliCAT.org, there are issues with creating the account or registering with PoliCAT.org, and in the event of loss of data.

9.4 In any case, PoliCAT UG shall only be liable for grossly negligent or intentionally caused damage (liability for due care in its own affairs); this also applies to the legal representatives, employees, employees and vicarious agents of PoliCAT UG.

9.5 The user must secure the PoliCAT.org petitions and other content placed by him on PoliCAT.org on his own computer against loss of data.

10. Data and privacy

10.1. PoliCAT UG strives ensure the best possible protection of any data transmitted, processed or stored at PoliCAT.org. The most important principle here is the data scarcity: we aim to ask for, and store only as little information as possible to provide a smooth and robust service, and we ask our users to also minimise the amount of data they ask and require activists or supporters to provide when signing a petition. Find more information about the type of data regularly transmitted, processed or stored at PoliCAT.org in our Privacy Policy.

10.2. PoliCAT UG provides the platform PoliCAT.org as a service to its users. In the terms of the (EU) 2016/679 – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), PoliCAT UG is the “processor” and the user the “controller” of any data you upload, edit, post, manage and collect via your petition widgets, in particular any personal data of petition signers. That implies that as a user, you are solely responsible for complying with the statutory requirements relating to data protection, in particular regarding the collection and processing of personal data of petition signers. You are responsible to handle any requests from affected persons, e.g. petition signers or targets, and ensure their rights regarding their data; this includes but not ends with providing transparency about the what data is held on them and editing or deleting their data promptly upon request.

10.3 Each petition on policat.org has its own privacy policy, which can be edited by the user setting up or managing the petition. PoliCAT UG does not take responsibility for the lawfulness and accuracy of these policies. It is the sole responsibility of the administrator (DPO) of a campaign account, to ensure that each petition tied to this account has a privacy policy that is accurate and in conformity with the EU GDPR and other applicable laws. Signers will find the specific privacy policy for a petition linked in the sign-up form on every widget.

10.4. PoliCAT UG will not and never disclose any personal data of users. But there are two exceptions. Firstly, we are working with external service providers in some areas so that we can concentrate fully on servicing PoliCAT.org as a platform for your petitions. For example, your name and email address might be provided to our mailing service provider to add to the return-path of emails sent to signers on your behalf. Such partner companies are contractually bound by us to use this data exclusively for the narrowly defined tasks. The second exception is cases where data sharing is necessary to combat attacks on our IT infrastructure that constitute criminal offences or compromise the functionality of our website.

10.5. For inquiries about data protection and privacy matters contact Daniel Pentzlin-Kordecki , appointed data protection officer by PoliCAT UG.

11. Termination of the offer

PoliCAT UG is entitled to supplement, change, suspend or discontinue the services offered on PoliCAT.org at any time and without prior notice. In the event of termination of its services PoliCAT UG is entitled to delete the content published by the users, in particular the published PoliCAT.org petitions; there is no obligation to do so.

12. Right of amendment

These Terms of Service can be viewed online on PoliCAT.org. PoliCAT UG reserves the right to change or supplement the Terms of Service at any time without notice. If registered users do not agree with changes / additions, they can terminate this agreement without notice. In the case of termination, Section 3 applies. Registered users should read the Terms of Service at regular intervals to find out about any changes or additions.

13. Applicable law

These Terms of Service as well as the use of PoliCAT.org are governed by the law of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as applicable regulations of the European Union, notably the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR).

14. Waiver and severability of terms

If any provision of the Terms of Service shall be found unlawful, it shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the remainder of the terms. The same applies to the privacy policy of any petition hosted on PoliCAT.org.

As of: 4.5.2018