July 21, 2020 – The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, along with data protection and privacy authorities from around the world, have today published an open letter to video teleconferencing companies reminding them of their obligations to comply with the law and handle people’s personal information responsibly.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a sharp uptake in the use of video teleconferencing software. While we recognize that videoconferencing is a valuable service allowing us all to stay connected regardless of where we are in the world, it also increases risks related to the collection and use of personal information. The ease of staying in touch must not come at the expense of people’s data protection and privacy rights.
The letter is intended for all companies that offer video conferencing services, and has also been sent directly to Microsoft, Cisco, Zoom, House Party and Google. It provides video teleconferencing companies with principles to help them identify and address some of these risks and better protect the personal information of users.
The open letter is signed by six authorities brought together through the Global Privacy Assembly’s International Enforcement Cooperation Working Group. The signatory authorities are:
- The Privacy Commissioner of Canada
- The U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office
- The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
- The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority
- The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, China.
- The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland