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Working From Home: Untangled

I subscribe to blogs and there are some really observant writers out there. As an AV/VC professional, this one got my attention today. I recommend looking this guy up- link below.
Here is a brief excerpt.
….Just about every office worker who still has a job is now working from home, growing weary of Zoom, and in many cases struggling to juggle childcare with remote meetings and deadlines.
But there’s a deeper worry bubbling under: Working from home — and the hodgepodge of sticky-tape solutions set up in a hurry to try and make working work — could pose a significant privacy risk.
“It’s a land grab for worker surveillance,” says Lilian Edwards, a professor who studies internet law at Newcastle University in the U.K. “It seems to me that we have very, very few safeguards in place.”…. (
It goes on and is scary/interesting but the main point is that using your employers license of Video Conferencing software for your ‘private’ catchups with family or friends poses a personal security risk. And this means that they have a right to know the details. After all, it’s their corporate software and communications platform. Zoom is the broad term that catches them all and there are many others.
So now we are all saying to ourselves…. Huh? Can they/ would they? HOW would they?
The truth is that in some cases they might, they certainly can and the HOW isn’t a matter of difficulty, its merely a matter of the backend admin portal that these corporate software packages offer. Its highly likely that somewhere in your employment contract you agreed to allowing any conversations or communications made at the office or on their supplied tools (like email/ telephone/ video) their corporate property. And just because these communications are all occurring at home and probably on your private internet connection doesn’t mean this clause wouldn’t necessarily be void.
All this poses a great deal of concern to the corporation who acquires this software for their remote teams so the problem runs hot on both sides.

So as a Working From Home user….What to do…?

Truth is, it depends.
Firstly, the inherent security within the system such as encryption may make it less hazardous straight out and harder to access without direct permissions. This prevents any accidental external  ‘eavesdropping’ ( remember Zoombombing?) however the corporation may still be able to wilfully / legally gain access.  The “free’ versions of things are never free…. You pay somewhere else, it could be your privacy…your data… ( think Facebook). Many free version of things don’t have any security controls  which is a big issue for corporate communications generally.
Secondly, speak to your HR people. This whole sudden transition to remote working at such a large scale is a HR nightmare. Human resources staff everywhere are struggling with all the changes and managing the WFH workforce. None of the current rules apply and they can’t keep up. This is another issue that no one foresaw so there are no precedents. My HR friends are all totally overwhelmed – they are likely the busiest people in the world at the moment.  Ask- in writing -to have use of the corporate tooling for private use at certain times such as after hours or weekends, just to get an agreement that you are entitled to privacy at certain times.

Lastly – If nothing else

Be aware of it. You can get your own apps for private conversations which means not using the corporate network. At least taking the corporate ‘right to know’ out of the equation, and it never hurts to remember that if you aren’t  prepared to say something to a person directly its unwise to say it via email or corporate VC because there is a minimal but legal risk that they will eventually see it.
Video Conferencing was never more necessary. Awareness of the implications is more important than ever. We need to be responsible personally as well.
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