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14 Apr 2020
BY Isaivan Naidoo AND Lucinda Botes

South Africa: How to choose a video conferencing platform in the time of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Given the fact that many countries are under some form of lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, organisations that are able to do so, are now working remotely, with video conferencing platforms enabling people to have virtual meetings just like they were face to face. 

However, there are growing privacy concerns over the use of these platforms, with some in the spotlight for sharing data with Facebook. It is paramount that organisations consider video conferencing platform options very carefully, especially since confidential information from the organisation and its clients is usually shared over these platforms.

The most crucial thing is to consider the privacy policy of the platform provider.  The platform provider should be compliant with applicable data privacy laws and regulations within which it operates, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Over and above this, when considering the privacy policy, the following should be taken into consideration by simply asking the following questions:

  • What data is being collected? For example, are your meetings being recorded or monitored? If you are sharing any content on the platforms, does the platform provider obtain any rights of use over the content?
  • What is your data used for? Is it being sold or shared with third parties?
  • What security measures are in place to protect your data from being stolen or unlawfully accessed?
  • In the event that it is being shared with third parties for legitimate reasons, what security measures do the third parties have in place to protect your data?
  • If the organiser or any of the participants are being recorded on the platform, are they alerted of this fact? What rights do the participants have if they don’t want to be recorded or what rights do participants then have over the recording?
  • If the meeting is being recorded, where is it being stored? Is it being stored locally or is it stored by the platform provider in a cloud? If it is being stored in a cloud, where are the servers hosted and are there adequate protection measures in place to protect your data?

As is evident from the above, the main concerns regarding your data are essentially what data is being collected, who is it being shared with and how will it be protected.

Once you have considered the privacy policy, the next step is to configure the privacy settings properly so as to maximise the privacy of individual users.

Lastly, it is well worth it to educate users about the use of these platforms by spelling out the risks and how to use the platform responsibly in order to mitigate any risk of any data breaches.

ENSafrica has a highly specialised team of privacy, cybersecurity and technology lawyers who are able to assist your organisation in mitigating any avoidable risks which may cause financial, regulatory and reputational harm as a result of choosing the wrong service provider.

Isaivan Naidoo
Executive | Technology, Media and Telecommunications
+27 82 310 5172

Lucinda Botes
Candidate Attorney | Corporate Commercial
+27 79 699 0344

COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. The disease has since been reported in over 190 countries.

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