The world is reliant on videoconferencing tools now more than ever. And so, it’s inevitable for people to scrutinize the security measures and privacy policies of these services. Quick question. Are you currently using apps like Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and WebEx? Consumer Reports has analyzed the privacy policies of these apps and discovered that they may be collecting more data than you realize.
Google Meet and Microsoft Teams Collecting Personal Data
These claims are not as alarming as the security holes in Zoom that came to light in April. They lead to a host of “Zoombombing” and other concerns. However, it’s still worth being aware of the data that Microsoft, Google, and Cisco can collect.
Consumer Reports isn’t saying that these apps are unsafe to use. Actually, a separate Mozilla report found that nearly every major videoconferencing app meets basic security standards.
However, by agreeing to the privacy policies of these services, you are giving these companies access to plenty of personal data. According to the report, all three companies reserve the right to collect information from your calls. This includes:
- How long a call lasts
- Who’s participating in the call
- IP addresses of everyone taking part
Neither of the companies gets into specific details on what kind of data they are collecting nor how it’s being used. Consumer Reports does note the data collected here could be combined with information from other sources to create personal profiles on users.
They can even potentially use videos for things like training facial recognition systems.
All three companies told Consumer Reports that they only create video recordings or transcripts when participants request them. This is by recording the meetings and promised that the recordings aren’t “directly” used for advertising.