Data Protection and Video Conferencing: Tips for Individuals

With so many of us now working from home, the number of people video-conferencing and video-calling has increased dramatically in recent weeks.

This has also resulted in people using video conferencing apps and services which they might not have used before or are now using for different reasons. Concerns have been raised about how to use these technologies in a way that is safe and secure, and ensures an adequate standard of data protection.

Here are some tips to help individuals:

  • Make sure that the device you use for video-calling has the necessary updates, such as operating system updates (like iOS or android) and software/antivirus updates (and make sure it has antivirus/online security software in the first place).
  • Try to use services which you know and trust, have done some research on, and/or have been vetted and suggested by your employer, etc., for video-conferencing or video-calling.
  • Take some time to read over the service’s privacy or data protection policy to be sure who your personal data is being shared with, where it will be stored or processed, and what purposes it will be used for, amongst other information.
  • Think twice about what permissions for data or sensors you are being asked for: Do you really need to share your location or your list of contacts for instance? What will that data be used for?
  • If the data protection or privacy information is inadequate or too much information, or access to your device is being sought, you should be wary of sharing personal data with this service, and may want to take further steps, or consider another service.
  • Ensure your device is used in a safe location, for example keep an eye on what (or who) can be seen from your camera, and be sure to log out, mute, or turn off video, as appropriate, when you leave or take a break.
  • Consider the data protection and privacy rights of others before you post or share a picture or video of a video-call that contains their image, voice, and/or contact details.
  • If you are recording a call or video, make sure you seek permission from those that will feature in it, before recording. Once recorded, what will you do with the footage? Will you share it? How long are you keeping it for? Do you really need to record it in the first place?
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