Safe video calling and online meetings for municipalities

Safe video calling and online meetings for municipalities

15-05-2020 14:27:43


Last week, the online council meeting of the municipality of West Betuwe was disrupted with racist and pornographic expressions. As a result of this incident, many municipalities are now afraid of holding online
meetings. A link for the meeting was posted on the municipality's website, allowing everyone to access that meeting. But when you make a link to an online meeting public, it is not surprising that it is taken
advantage of. It is a pity that online meetings are labeled as "unsafe" because of this.

For video calling and online meetings, you can, instead, take measures to prevent uninvited guests from entering. It is notable that in these types of situations it is quickly said that one has been "hacked", while that is not the case at all. To hack is to enter someones computer network by circumventing security. In this case it was the result of human error and could have easily been prevented. A lot of criticism has been directed at the municipality for not taking the responsibility to meet safely; a) by publicly sharing a link to the online meeting and b) by using a video calling service (Zoom) that has already appeared negatively several times in the media due to security issues.

Council meetings should of course be public, but opening the conference to everyone involves risks. It is also possible to use streams to YouTube or to your own streaming server to make the meeting public and
at the same time prevent abuse from taking place. The URL to the meeting and the password is only shared with those people with whom participation has been agreed in advance.

A privacy-friendly video calling service

A privacy-friendly alternative to Zoom (or, for example, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet) is the open source Jitsi. You do not want to be dependent on foreign parties that do not take the privacy of you and
your users seriously. By using a service like Jitsi (hosted at BIT), your data remains in the Netherlands and is subject to Dutch laws and regulations. Precisely because of the current situation we are in now,
it is again painfully clear that we should not be dependent on foreign parties. Not when it comes to medical resources, but also not when it comes to our data. Video calling, sending emails, reading news or
navigating: Google provides all kinds of free services, but what is the price you ultimately pay?

One of the many possibilities that Jitsi offers is to stream online meetings to YouTube or your own server, to make recordings and to secure rooms with a password. That way you can offer users a safe environment
and prevent third parties from disrupting your meeting. In addition, a data processor agreement can be made with this service and you, as the controller, can prevent the other party from processing the personal
data for its own purposes.

We offer this ISO 27001 and NEN 7510 certified service from our 100% Dutch data centers. With a private Jitsi at BIT you have your own dedicated resources and privacy and security settings can be set up
entirely according to your own wishes. For a company with a few dozen employees this is possible from as little as € 50 per month. In addition, we can offer you a data processor agreement with this service
and an SLA is supplied as standard. Because there are short communication lines within our organization, we can quickly respond to your specific wishes and needs.

Want to know more about a private Jitsi?

Want to know more about a private Jitsi? Please contact us on +31 318 648 688 or

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