Protect your privacy in video chats & conferences (Part 1)

–– 13 May 2020

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Whatever you’ve been doing during this pandemic it’s likely you’ve been joining, or hosting, lots of video calls and using a number of different platforms from Zoom, Google Hangouts to Microsoft Teams. 

Whether using video calls for work, or for personal use, it’s important to know you face a number of threats to your privacy, security and personal information. This could be intruders entering the video chat such as ‘zoombombing’, or information from your calls could be shared to third parties, or worse publicly.

Here are a few actions you can take to protect yourself…

Do I need to use video? 📹

We could all be asking ourselves this question. Can the call you’re about to make be done via a phone call, or group audio chat. Using audio is a simple but easy way to avoid video chats altogether. 

Pick the right platform

Find out what services are the best for privacy. There’s some good online guides that offer guidance on the best. To begin with, find out if you can use them as a guest, to share as little data as possible. If you do sign up you could always use a burner email (a temporary email). 

Use a strong password & password manager 🔐

Use a secure and rated password manager with the password manager’s inbuilt password generator. 

If the video software lets you, ensure the meeting link is private and password protected and only shares these details with your friends or colleagues. Also set screen sharing to host only.

Act like you’re on TV 📺

This might sound silly, but it’s best to act like you’re being streamed live. Anything you do or say can be recorded, by a host, administrator, or another participant, or just grabbed by someone with screencasting software, or even a smartphone. 

To reduce this, just turn off your video or mic when you need to. You don’t always need these on at all times. If you’re saying something sensitive, it is best to use a secure messaging app like Signal. And do this outside of the call.

Be careful what you do and say 🤐

Be careful what you do and chat about. Don’t share personal stuff like your phone number or where you live. You might want to remove things from your background, or blur them. Insights into where you live, or your house can be visible so keep it blank and simple.

Stay safe!

If you’re worried about what your video software knows about you, we’ve got a video conferencing category on the Tapmydata app for you to send subject access requests and find out what they know about you. Download below for free. 👇

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