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Recently, Cisco responded to questions posed to video teleconferencing companies (VTC) by privacy regulators from around the world, including Australia, Canada, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. They asked questions about the privacy and security capabilities of the VTC platforms. Because of “shelter in place” orders and COVID-19 pandemic response, videoconferencing has become central to how we live, work, learn, and play. We appreciate the regulators asking pointed questions and support their efforts to ensure all VTCs invest and implement privacy and security by design into VTC products and services.

Given the world’s recent dependency on VTC technologies, it’s now more important than ever that users scrutinize the privacy implications of how these technologies are built, deployed, operated, and used. The imperative to remain physically distant while connecting with others has resulted in an exponential increase in the use of VTC platforms to enable hybrid/online work, education, wellness, and other critical functions necessary for public health and safety, as well as social and economic activity. Cisco Webex utilization has surged to more than 3 times its pre-pandemic volume – supporting over 500 million meeting participants and generating more than 25 billion meeting minutes in a single month.

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We understand the issues and risks raised by the regulators and share their concerns. At Cisco, privacy is an ethical responsibility and business imperative, not just a compliance requirement.  Our CEO, Chuck Robbins, has publicly taken the position that “privacy is a fundamental human right” and committed us all to respect and protect it. Our Data Protection and Privacy Program is anchored on the core principles of transparency, fairness, and accountability, and has been certified to align to global privacy frameworks (e.g., EU Binding Corporate Rules, EU/Swiss/UK-US Privacy Shield, APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules System and Privacy Recognition for Processors). For more information about Cisco’s approach to privacy, please visit our Trust Center.

Privacy is also front and center in the design, development, deployment, and operations of Cisco offers and solutions. Privacy and security by design, and default, have been central to our product development methodology for years. The Cisco Secure Development Lifecycle (CSDL) includes a privacy impact assessment as a mandatory step to ensure privacy risks are appropriately managed. Cisco Webex is a world-class collaboration tool that maintains strong security with privacy-protecting and enhancing functionality for all our users. For more details about Webex security and privacy, please see our “Cisco Webex Trusted Platform” page.

We appreciate the regulators’ and public’s efforts to hold VTCs to account and ensure that we can all live, work, learn, and play safely online.

This blog was originally written by Harvey Jang for Cisco Blogs.

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