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article imageVideo calling is on the rise, but so are privacy concerns

By Tim Sandle     Jan 7, 2021 in Technology
The use of video calls and video apps brings many benefits, especially in the era of remote working. However, it does bring privacy concerns and many are unaware that they need to activate privacy features, rather than these being default settings.
A survey reveals that as video call usage rises, so does anxiety about privacy. This is according to research collated by Mozilla and run by the polling organization Ipsos. The survey relates to U.S. workers.
The headline figure is that more than half of U.S. workers are now using video call apps. Unsurprising in the coronavirus era, this includes many first-time users. Despite the higher-usage, it remains that over 60 percent are concerned about their personal information being shared with video call app companies.
In relation to the poll, Mozilla has updated their 'Privacy Not Included' guide. The guidance considers the privacy and security features of 15 video call apps including Zoom and FaceTime. In compiling the report, Mozilla researchers found heightened competition and public scrutiny are spurring video call app makers to address privacy and security problems and adopt consumer-friendly features at a faster pace than is typical in the tech industry.
Other aspects from the Mozilla and Ipsos poll results the vast majority of those who are currently using the platforms (85 percent) believe they will continue using them once coronavirus lockdowns are lifted. Digging into the data with more detail, U.S. workers who are employed full-time are more likely to be currently using these platforms (66 percent), while retired Americans (36 percent) are least likely.
Most people (61 percent) are concerned about their personal information being shared with companies, including 56 percent of people using video chat platforms and 68 percent who are not majority of Americans (57 percent) are also concerned about the privacy of their conversations, including 54 percent of current users and 63 percent of non-users.
The most popular apps are Zoom (66 percent) and FaceTime (48 percent), followed by Facebook Messenger (31 percent), Skype (27 percent), and Google Hangouts / Meet / Duo (22 percent).
The survey poses an interesting question in relation to the ease of technology and the control and ownership of data. Of particular noteworthiness are new users who may not be familiar with apps’ optional privacy and security features of video technology.
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