Data protection: Microsoft video conferences fail, freeware shines

Image: © Maksim Kabakou -
Image: © Maksim Kabakou –

The leading video conference systems such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Blizz and Cisco WebEx all failed in a short test by the Berlin data protection officer Maja Smoltczyk.

“Unfortunately, some of the providers who provide sophisticated solutions have not yet met the data protection requirements,” she said. In a report, these systems were all given a “red light”. “There are shortcomings in red marked providers, which preclude a legally compliant use of the service and the removal of which presumably requires substantial adjustments to the business processes and / or the technology”, says a statement published on Friday.

In the short test, commercially available instances of the open-source software Jitsi Meet were rated with a “green light”, such as the service from Netways or The Tixeo Cloud, BigBlueButton from Werk21 and Wire also received a positive judgment.

When it came to the solutions of the leading US providers, Smoltczyk and her employees identified defects in the legal conformity of the order processing contracts offered.

Among other things, Smoltczyk provided the “Cisco WebEx” service as provided by Deutsche Telekom with a “yellow traffic light”. There were also shortcomings in the order processing contract, inadmissible restrictions on the right to issue instructions and unclear regulations on data exports, which preclude legally compliant use of the service. In contrast to the “red traffic light”, however, the elimination of the deficiencies “is presumably possible without significant adjustments to the business processes and technology”. Telekom has already announced changes in the small print.

Free instances of Jitsi, which are provided by universities and the Chaos Computer Club, among others, were also rated “yellow”. There is usually no order processing contract here.

Among the state data protection officers, Smoltczyk has made a name for himself as a critic of established video conference systems and initially only published negative checklists with criteria that exclude the use of the systems. In contrast, companies like Microsoft are fighting back. Politicians such as the digital political spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Jens Zimmermann, asked the data protection officer to propose a tool for every prohibited tool that can be used without hesitation.

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  • Internet security hacker: © Maksim Kabakou –

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