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Academic Views

Member Privacy and University Resources

The pandemic has brought many new and unprecedented challenges as we work remotely, including staying connected, teaching, and collaborating on research. We have been introduced to many new communications tools which went from obscurity to ubiquity in a matter of weeks.

Early in the pandemic, we cautioned members to also be aware that all online activities may be recorded somehow, and these records are difficult to delete and could be reviewed later. Our main concern at that time was regarding instructional materials, academic freedom, and intellectual property.

Concerns with the privacy of the chat features on Zoom and Microsoft Teams has recently been raised with the Faculty Association. Since chats may be saved in a record for a period of time, they may not remain as confidential as one might expect and the content may be subject to Freedom of Information Legislation. We expect that the content of chats during meetings may be of a personal nature and occur with an expectation of privacy. However, we would like to caution members to be careful in the use of any communications tools provided by the University.

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