Zoom Security and Privacy at OLLI

April 8, 2020

As many of you know, Zoom has received significant negative press in the past few weeks. The focus has been on privacy and security issues. The purpose of this piece is to update OLLI members  on Zoom’s issues and how OLLI is addressing these issues.
First, Zoom has decided to spend 90 days solely addressing privacy and security issues. Last night, they issued an updated version of the software to better protect users. We expect frequent updates in the days to come. 

Zoom has both free and licensed accounts. With a free account, meetings are limited to 
40 minutes and up to 100 participants per meeting. OLLI has 10 Zoom’s Business License accounts, which allows us to offer 7 simultaneous classes (just as in-person), each 90-minutes, and with up to 300 participants in each meeting. The additional accounts allow OLLI staff to monitor meetings to assist in troubleshooting.
From the beginning, to provide as much security and privacy as possible, we decided that OLLI staff would set up our Zoom accounts, schedule meetings, and send meeting invitations. This means that two staff are managing this process instead of 90-plus Study Group Leaders.
Many Zoom users are aware of only those controls she/he has in a meeting. For instance, whether or not to mute/unmute or whether to turn their video on so they can be seen. However, Zoom provides more than 65 settings for each meeting. Because OLLI staff schedule the meetings, we can ensure all settings are accurate.  Here are some examples of settings which we use:

  • All OLLI study groups are private. We do not post our meeting invitations on our website, on social media, or in any public sphere. Only OLLI members and staff can attend. This is our first defense against “Zoombombing” in which uninvited guests post racist, obscene, or pornographic language or images. Zoombombing has occurred in meetings which have been publicized on Facebook, websites, or other public spaces.

  • We only allow meeting Hosts (SGLs) to “share screens” (for example, to display a PowerPoint presentation or YouTube video) or “annotate” (write notes on their screens). Should an outsider get into an OLLI meeting, she/he would not be able to post any images or write any messages.

  • We do not allow study group sessions to be recorded. If an SGL wants to record a study group as feedback to improve her/his instruction, the SGL must request permission from the office and directly from the members in that group.

We did record the Annual Meeting and informed members beforehand that it would be recorded. The purpose of that recording was for reporting purposes. The video has been deleted. When it existed, it was stored in the cloud in the OLLI Admin account to which only OLLI staff have access.

What OLLI Members and SGLs Using Zoom Should/Should Not Do

As with any other technology, OLLI is dependent upon its members and staff to use Zoom in an ethical manner.

  • Do not share any OLLI meeting invitations or Meeting IDs with others.

  • Do not record any OLLI meeting without the permission of the host and participants.

  • Please be sure to keep Zoom updated by accepting updates or downloading them from https://zoom.us/download.