Audio and video conferencing systems

Measures for the safe use of audio and video conferencing systems 

01.05.2020 - The coronavirus pandemic is showing people all over Switzerland and, indeed, the world how a single event can completely change our surroundings and the way we do things. From one day to the next, it was no longer possible for us to meet friends and family in person, or exchange information with colleagues and hold meetings at our offices. In our work and in our private lives, we have abruptly switched to digital solutions such as audio or video conferencing systems. Despite the rush with which business meetings, children’s ‘visits’ with their grandparents, or even parties have been moved online, we must not forget how important information security and data protection continue to be.

The first part of this information sheet lists measures we recommend you take to ensure that the audio or video conferencing system you are using during this crisis is safe. You should make sure to reassess your choice of service – either immediately or at a later point in time – by carrying out a risk analysis according to data protection criteria. If necessary, choose a different service more suitable to your needs. This information sheet also contains a list of points to observe when setting up and introducing an audio or video conferencing system, to ensure it complies with data protection guidelines 

The information sheet deals with exactly these issues, and is aimed at all user groups – both in business and in private life.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Update to the joint statement on global privacy expectations of Video Teleconferencing companies

06.01.2021

Open letter

On 21 July 2020 the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) and five other data protection and privacy regulators from around the world jointly signed an open letter (PDF, 180 kB, 21.07.2020) to companies providing video teleconferencing services.

The letter recognised the value of video teleconferencing in keeping people connected, but set out concerns about whether privacy safeguards are keeping pace with increased risks from the sharp uptake of these services during the current pandemic. The joint signatories provided video teleconferencing companies with principles to guide them in addressing some key privacy risks. 

The joint signatories sent the letter directly to Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, House Party and Google. These companies were invited to respond and demonstrate how they take the principles into account in the development and operation of their video teleconferencing offerings.

Responses

Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom and Google replied to the open letter. The joint signatories thank these companies for engaging on
this important matter and for acknowledging and responding to the concerns raised. In their responses the companies highlighted various privacy and security best practices, measures, and tools that they advise are implemented or built-in to their video teleconferencing services.

The information provided by these companies is encouraging. It is a constructive foundation for further discussion on elements
of the responses that the joint signatories feel would benefit from more clarity and additional supporting information.

The joint signatories have not received a response to the open letter from House Party. They strongly encourage House Party to engage with them and respond to the open letter to address the concerns raised. 

Next steps

Moving forward, the joint signatories will undertake further engagement with these companies. They will invite more detail on the privacy and security safeguards built-in to the video teleconferencing services, and give the companies the opportunity to demonstrate how they achieve, monitor, and validate the measures set out in their responses.

Following this engagement, the joint signatories will issue a more substantive public statement on their findings, learnings, and outcomes from this activity in 2021.

 

Open letter: Joint statement on global privacy expectations

21.07.2020 - Data protection and privacy authorities from around the world have today published an open letter to video teleconferencing companies, reminding them of their obligations to comply with the law and handle people’s information responsibly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a sharp uptake in the use of video teleconferencing software, increasing risks around the collection and use of personal information. The open letter provides video teleconferencing companies with principles to help them identify and address some of the key privacy risks, and better protect people’s personal information.
The open letter is signed by six authorities brought together through the Global Privacy Assembly’s International Enforcement Cooperation Working Group: the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority, the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, the Switzerland Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner and the UK Information Commissioner’s Office.
The letter is for all video conferencing companies, but has also been sent directly to Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, House Party and Google.

 

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Last modification 06.01.2021

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