Safety measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused a massive shift in the way people are working. Many businesses have been forced to shut down physical locations meaning millions of people worldwide are navigating the work-from-home lifestyle. Zoom Video Communications is now the company leading in the virtual meeting world. But before you accept one more Zoom meeting invitation, there are a few things you should know regarding your privacy.
Attention Tracking Feature
Zoom offers an “attention-tracking” feature which alerts the meeting host if you go more than 30 seconds without Zoom being in focus on your screen. This means that if you switch to another window, even if it’s for a work related task, like entering something into a calendar or looking at an Excel spreadsheet, the host will be notified if they’ve enabled this feature.
This system is clearly flawed as most attendees of an in-person meeting would have a device with them to help supplement the conversation. If you plan on switching between programs, or maybe goofing off a bit during the call, you might want to use a separate device to run Zoom.
The cloud recording feature allows for a host to record the audio and visuals of a meeting, as well as a transcript of the meeting and any chats that took place during the call. All of this information is then uploaded to the company’s cloud. This is a very useful feature when it comes to filling in those who might’ve missed a meeting, but also could lead to some issues of unintentionally shared information. If a meeting is particularly sensitive, the host should be sure to restrict who can access the records within the cloud. If you’re attending, be extra careful not to badmouth anyone in the company as they might be able to see your comments later.
Free Zoom Backgrounds For Extra Privacy…and So You Don’t Need to Clean Your Room
When taking meetings from home, it is not only important that you look professional, but also that your environment does. A messy background will likely distract, and even undermine, what is being said in the meeting. Modsy and Unsplash are two companies that offer free Zoom backgrounds.
With Modsy, users can appear to be working in a beautifully designed home or even a living room from shows like Seinfeld, Friends, or Sex in the City. Unsplash offers backgrounds ranging from cafes to libraries to cathedrals to beaches.
Zoom No Longer Will Send Certain Data to Facebook
Last Thursday, tech watchdog Motherboard, reported that the iOS version of Zoom was transferring data on user device, location, device carriers, what time you opened the Zoom app, and advertising identifier to Facebook.
By late Friday, Zoom had reportedly updated the iOS app to stop this data transfer. In a statement the company said, “Zoom takes its users’ privacy extremely seriously. We originally implemented the ‘Login with Facebook’ feature using the Facebook SDK in order to provide our users with another convenient way to access our platform. However, we were recently made aware that the Facebook SDK was collecting unnecessary device data.”