TR Daily Markey Seeks FTC Guidelines, Best Practices on Online Conferencing
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Markey Seeks FTC Guidelines, Best Practices on Online Conferencing

Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) asked the Federal Trade Commission today to release guidelines for providers of online conference services and best practices for users of those offerings to protect their safety and privacy.

“As Americans’ reliance on online conferencing grows, individuals are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and inappropriate access of their personal data,” Sen. Markey said in a letter. “Although much of the recent reporting has focused on Zoom due to its growing user base, and I would urge the FTC to conduct a thorough investigation into Zoom, it is clear that no platform is immune from risks. Other services, including Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have all previously had security flaws exposed, raising the need for the FTC to issue guidance generally ‘to help businesses understand their responsibilities and comply with the law,’ particularly during this pandemic.”

Mr. Markey asked the FCC’s guidance to companies include (1) “[i]mplementing secure authentication and other safeguards against unauthorized access;” (2) “[e]nacting limits on data collection and recording;” (3) “[e]mploying encryption and other security protocols for securing data;” and (4) “[p]roviding clear and conspicuous privacy policies for users.”

The lawmaker said the best practices for online conferencing users should include (1) “[i]dentifying and preventing cyber threats such as phishing and malware;” (2) “[s]haring links to online meetings without compromising security;” (3) “[r]estricting access to meetings via software settings;” and (4) “[r]ecognizing that different versions of a company’s service may provide varying levels of privacy protection.”

Mr. Markey added, “These cybersecurity and privacy concerns are an important and time-sensitive issue, as millions of Americans now depend on online conferencing software for communication during this public health crisis. The FTC should act as quickly as possible to guide companies and educate the public about how to best mitigate the risks that come with using online conferencing technology.” —Paul Kirby, [email protected]

MainStory: Congress FederalNews FTC Privacy InternetIoT Cybersecurity Covid19

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