Monday, April 15 2024

Imagine someone secretly recording you during video calls – how would you react?

The Geonode team has been researching this growing concern, aiming to empower individuals with knowledge on safeguarding their privacy during video calls.

“A lot of people are not aware that their privacy rights could be slipping away when they click ‘accept’ for a video call,” (Josh Gordon, Cyber Security Expert, Geonode).

A recent shift of our daily meetings, discussions, and even personal get-togethers to video calls has created uncharted territories where privacy is concerned. Video platforms themselves might record your calls, or participants might be recording without your explicit permission. But how can you determine if you are being recorded during these virtual interactions?

9 Signs You Are Being Recorded

Every video calling platform has its own set of privacy settings and protocols, but Benjamin points out a few common signs to keep an eye out. Here are a few indicators to consider:

Check for Built-in Indicators: Most video call platforms display notifications or icons when recording. Platforms like Zoom will often show a notification to ensure participants are aware they’re being recorded.

Watch for Software Signs: Red dots or pop-up notifications can signal recording. These are visual cues provided by the platform to indicate that the recording function has been activated.

Listen for Beeps: Some platforms use periodic audio signals during recording. These beeps act as audible reminders that a recording is in progress, ensuring transparency.

Just Ask: If uncertain, directly question the other participants. A direct approach is the simplest way to clear up any doubts about whether the call is being recorded.

Observe Behavior: If participants seem overly formal or stick to a script, they might be recording. People might act differently, avoiding casual or off-topic conversation, when they’re making a recording.

Beware of Third-party Tools: Not all recordings use the platform’s built-in features. External software or devices can be used to record without the usual indicators, so always be cautious.

Spot Screen Recording Signs: If someone shares their screen, look for recording icons. A visible recording toolbar or icon can indicate that not just the screen, but the entire call might be getting recorded.

Note Hardware Lights: Some devices have lights that activate when in use. These lights, often on cameras or microphones, can serve as a reminder that they are active and potentially recording.

Be Wary of Unusual Requests: Repeated requests to speak louder or ensure visibility might hint at recording. Such behavior could indicate an attempt to get a clear recording, especially if it seems out of context for the conversation.

While these telltale signs can be useful, they are not fully foolproof. Some platforms may not offer any visual indication, while others rely on user honesty to provide notification.

Tricky Territories: Unauthorized Recordings

“Nothing on the internet is 100% secure, and that includes video calls,” Gordon warns, “So, participants can employ the use of third-party applications to record video conversations without the other party’s knowledge.”

Clearly, dealing with unauthorized recordings can be challenging, but you can proactively take measures to protect your privacy:

  • Familiarize yourself with the platform. Understanding various privacy settings can help you maximize your security.
  • Ask before you begin. Before starting any crucial conversation, ask whether your call will be recorded.
  • Speak with caution. When in doubt, always assume that your conversation might be recorded and act accordingly.

Reporting Breaches

If you suspect that a call has been recorded without your consent, report this to the platform provider. 

While the world of technology continues to evolve, maintaining our privacy can indeed feel daunting. Yet seeking knowledge and exercising caution enable us to navigate this complex landscape with a sense of control and security.

So, the next time you’re on a video call, remember: awareness is the key to your privacy. Keep an eye out for recording indicators, ask when in doubt, and protect your conversation content.

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