December 23, 2020
Update to the joint statement on global privacy expectations of video teleconferencing companies
On July 21, 2020, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and five other data protection and privacy regulators from around the world jointly signed an open letter to companies providing video teleconferencing services.
The letter recognized the value of video teleconferencing in keeping people connected. It also 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.
Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom and Google replied to the open letter. We 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 have implemented or built into 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. We strongly encourage House Party to engage with us and respond to the open letter to address the concerns raised.
Moving forward, the joint signatories will engage further with these companies. We will ask for more detail on the privacy and security safeguards built into 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 public statement on their findings, learnings and outcomes from this activity in 2021.
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