By Robert W. Wilkins
What you need to know about protecting your privacy while working remotely.
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt by individuals and businesses across the country, resulting in many of us working remotely and relying heavily on technology such as Zoom to stay connected.
Zoom, the well-known video and web conferencing platform, has seen a sharp rise in use over the past few weeks with a growing number of individuals and professionals in all industries using the app. While Zoom has brought us together during these unprecedented and uncertain times, there are some concerns users should be aware of regarding the protection of their privacy.
How can you protect your privacy on Zoom?
1. Personal Zoom Meeting ID
Allow Zoom to automatically generate a unique meeting ID for your invitations as opposed to using a personal meeting ID. This protects your privacy by not revealing your identity.
2. Meeting Password for Attendees
Always require a meeting password for attendees to sign in. This will ensure only authorized individuals can join the meeting and gives you the ability to see who has joined.
3. Screen Sharing
Zoom’s default setting allows any meeting participant to share their screen without permission from the host. Meaning, anything that is put on their computer screen could be visible. “Zoombombing”—where uninvited users access conferences through default settings—has increased and the FBI has warned users of this problem.
4. Video Recording
The host has the ability to record the web conference which is indicated by a red light at the bottom of the screen. Hosts and guests should mutually consent to any audio and /or video recording.
5. Data Collection
Zoom collects data on the host and the participants. You should familiarize yourself with what they collect and how they plan to use the data, including sharing information with third parties. There is already a class action against Zoom concerning its sharing of personal data with third parties.
Zoom does not provide end-to-end encryption to protect your data. There are alternative platforms to be considered, but each has their own limitations. Two end-to-end encrypted options are FaceTime, which is a go-to for Apple users but is not cross-platform, or WhatsApp, which is popular internationally but is limited to a maximum of four video callers at once. We suggest exploring the options available to you, and determining what works best for your needs.
It is often assumed that platforms used for both individual and professional purposes come with a certain level of security. However, as with much technology, you must be proactive in taking measures to protect your privacy.