WUAS abandons using the videoconferencing tool Zoom due to privacy fears


WUAS abandons using the conferencing tool Zoom due to privacy fears and a lack of GDPR compliance.

Do not use Zoom as an educator, Wittenborg warns.

Apeldoorn, 1 April 2020 – Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS) in Apeldoorn, Amsterdam and Munich cautions its staff and students to not use the popular videoconferencing application Zoom in an educational context, but switch to Microsoft Teams instead.

“Zoom does not meet our standards for reliability, confidentiality, and GDPR compliance,” Peter Birdsall, WUAS Chair said in a statement to all students and staff, “Teams does.”


WUAS staff have evaluated a number of teleconferencing applications for use in teaching and examining during the present COVID-19 emergency. It appeared that the popular Zoom app has a number of issues that make it inappropriate for use by an organisation that values the privacy of its students and staff and is serious about GDPR (AVG) compliance. As a matter of policy, the application gives an administrator access to user data that is not relevant to the student-teacher interaction, but form an invasion of privacy. It records user-sensitive data outside the user’s control. Moreover, Zoom can be easily broken into and misused by outsiders intent on stealing data or disrupting contacts.

Microsoft Teams

Every member of the WUAS community has full, free access to the entire range of Microsoft Office 365 applications. This includes the Teams application, which can be used by a virtually unlimited number of participants to a meeting at any one time. In fact, every morning, scores of WUAS staff members dispersed across the world meet in a virtual coffee table to discuss current academic (and non-academic!) affairs for the day. Teams includes all the functionality of the familiar Skype for Business, which it now replaces. Combined with the full integration with the other Office applications used at WUAS, this makes Teams the optimal choice.

The WUAS executive has, therefore, decided that no other application than Teams may be used in teaching, coaching and examining at Wittenborg as of 2 April 2020. Individual staff members can, of course, continue to use other applications for personal use in non-WUAS environments, if they so desire, but for WUAS use, only Teams will be allowed as a teleconferencing application.

Note: The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation

WUP 1/4/2020
by James Wittenborg
©Wittenborg University Press

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