Video Conferencing

What you need to know:

Video conferencing software has seen a growth in usage as the technology improves and workforces become more dispersed than ever. From a data privacy perspective, there is not much detail on exactly what kind of data these companies collect or how they use it.

However, based on the privacy policy for a few of the top video conferencing providers they broadly reserve the right to store information on how long a call lasts, who’s on it, and every attendees’ IP address. This information can potentially be combined with personal details they get from other services they provide or shared with data brokers, third parties or governments. 

In addition, when the host requests a video or transcript to be generated, these companies could also access the audio to improve their voice-to-speech technologies or video recordings to develop facial recognition or similar technologies. It is not clear exactly what type of data collection is happening, however for the most part the privacy policies are written broadly enough to enable a range of possibilities.

Beyond the video conferencing companies that built the platform, the host or administrator of the meeting, or even other participants can easily record the session. Furthermore, some of the services have a host of security flaws, including one which have enabled uninvited intruders to join and disrupt meetings.

Learn More:

Privacy policy review for a few of the top video conference providers

The myriad of privacy issues facing Zoom

How Microsoft contractors were listening to some Skype calls

What to do:

To limit the video conferencing service from collecting data, you can use a “burner” email or a disposable email service. This will limit their ability to identify you. 

In general, it is a good idea to protect your meetings and sessions with passwords to prevent intruders.

For some specific advice on how to keep meetings safe on platforms like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet and Facebook, review this guide.