Privacy, in general, and user data privacy, in particular, are two really hot topics of discussion. This technology hot potato led to the implementation of many privacy laws in recent years.
But somehow users remain wary of software collecting data about them. And frankly put, any software out there collects a certain amount of data about you.
That’s why many Microsoft Teams users are wondering if the program can spy on them. Or if their employer can spy on them using Teams. In this guide, we’ll answer all these questions and many more.
Can Microsoft Teams Be Monitored?
The short answer is Yes. Your employer can monitor what you’re doing within Teams. They can also log conversations, record calls, and track your camera when you’re in a meeting. But there are also things they cannot do. We’ll talk about various scenarios below.
Meet the UpdateRecordingStatus API
The UpdateRecordingStatus API is a tool that Teams admins can use to record your calls and meetings. Basically, when the corresponding API policy has been triggered for a specific user, Teams sends a bot to join that meeting. The bot will then start to record your call.
The good news is that Teams will notify all the meeting participants about the recording via a banner or an audio announcement.
Many companies prefer to record meetings between employees in case of an audit.
What Can My Employer See on Microsoft Teams?
If you’re using a Microsoft Teams account that’s managed by an organization, your employer can track chats, calls, meetings, total online time, and how long you have been away from your machine. They can also track your microphone and camera while you’re in a meeting or call.
However, your employer cannot use your computer microphone and camera to spy on you when you’re not in a meeting or call.
They can also track your location through location sharing. So, your employer will know whether you’re working from the comfort of your home or not.
Furthermore, if the work you are doing is going on within Teams, your employer can track all your activities. They can see what exactly you were doing at any given time by checking the Usage reports.
Can Microsoft Teams Detect Background Apps?
If you’re using a personal computer, Microsoft Teams cannot see what programs and apps you’re running on your device. It cannot monitor your computer activities. In other words, Teams can only track what is done within Teams.
If you want to use an extra precaution measure, you can keep Teams in a separate web browser rather than using the desktop app.
However, if you’re using a company computer, your employer might have installed a surveillance program to track your activities.
Can Teams Video Calls Be Monitored?
If you are using Microsoft Teams with a work email on a company computer, chances are your employer is logging conversations and recording calls. And there could potentially be no notification about that. So, yes, your Microsoft Teams video calls could be monitored without you being aware of it.
Who Can See Microsoft Teams Chats?
Your employer can set up e-discovery on Teams in order to monitor certain keywords in chats. As stated above, if you’re using Teams with a work email, your employer is probably keeping a log of all your chat conversations. This means your chats are not private.
Your boss can see your Teams messages. The platform gives them this option. They can always ask the Teams administrator to access your account. But we’re sure your boss has other things to take care of. Reading your Teams messages would be counterproductive. They’re probably just using a script to monitor certain keywords and nothing more.
Can Teachers See Private Messages on Teams?
If you’re a student and you’re wondering if your teachers can check your private messages on Teams, rest assured, they cannot. As long as you’re using a personal Teams account on your personal computer, your teachers cannot access your private chat conversations.
Microsoft Teams Privacy Settings
Whether you’re an individual user or a team owner, there are many privacy settings you can enable on your end for peace of mind.
For example, you can go to Windows 10’s Settings, and block Teams from accessing your camera and microphone. Of course, you’ll need to re-enable the permission when you’re actively participating in calls or meetings.
Or you can open the app settings and block contacts, disable read receipts, and more.
If you’re a team owner, you can click on Manage team and tweak member permissions, set up guest permissions, and more.
Microsoft’s Privacy Commitments For Teams
The Redmond giant promises to handle your Teams user data in a manner that respects your privacy.
- Microsoft guarantees it does not use your Teams data for advertisement purposes.
- When your Team subscription has ended or expired, Microsoft will delete your data.
- The company does not track multi-tasking activities in Teams meetings.
- Third-parties cannot access your user data. The company also defined clear requirements when it comes to government requests for data.
The Difference Between Spying and Recording Activities
Taken into account the current context, the Work-From-Home system is a reality we must adapt to. Employers have the right to track your work-related activities during working hours.
But they’re not entitled to use Teams, access your microphone and camera or use other means to check what you’re doing outside working hours. That’s called spying.
Are you using a Teams account managed by an organization and a computer that belongs to your employer? Then you should never put anything in text or video that you would not want to be read back to you in a court of law.
After all, there is no presumption of privacy when you’re using a company-owned computer or software.