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Risky Business


Tips and tricks for securing information


Keep it private; ensuring privacy while recording

By Peter Andrews-Briscoe, on 2 June 2023

In this age of digital work, it is easy to see the benefits of having recordings, especially for an educational institute such as UCL; it allows students to return to materials in their own time, researchers to keep records of any interviews, and lets staff save any meetings they find important. However, it is important to be aware of some of the security issues that come with recordings, so that you can get the most benefit out of them for the least amount of risk; we recently had some privacy concerns raised around the use of recordings. 

The heart of the issue were the worries that either a recording might go on too long and capture something personal when people have forgotten they’re being recorded, and the concern that someone might be able to see a recording of a private meeting. Consider a student discussing academic worries to their lecturer after a lecture whilst Lecturecast is still recording, or someone accidentally getting access to the full Teams recording of a disciplinary hearing when they were only meant to be witnesses. 

In light of these concerns, ISG would like to remind all staff, students, and lecturers the importance of ensuring that all recordings are used responsibly and securely. It is crucial to protect the privacy of our staff and students, and we hope that by remaining aware of these issues, we can avoid making any mistakes. 

To help reduce the likelihood of an incident happening, when you are recording for a lecture, make a habit to stop a recording immediately after the lecture has ended. Before having a conversation that may include sensitive information, try to find a more private spot to talk; if this is not possible, then make completely sure no recording is taking place. When recording a teams meeting, remember that everyone in the meeting will have access to the recording; if someone was only there for part of the meeting, and should not have access to the full recording, remember to remove them from the meeting chat before the end of the meeting so they won’t have access to the recording or the transcript. You should also check who has access to the recording, and make sure that only people who need access have it. 

We wish to remind all of the need to remain vigilant around the privacy of our staff and students – we hope by keeping these practices in mind, we can prevent any occurrences from happening. 

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