Reviewed October 2nd, 2020
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privacy guide
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Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Corporation
6/10

Summary

Teams is the business-focused service from Microsoft that integrates its Office365 services and has continued to grow as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, doubling its users in the past four months. Teams allows video chats for hundreds and thousands to join with a meeting link, and does not even require an app. Teams also offers Slack-like features, which allows users to instant message colleagues and provides them with integration with non-Microsoft apps.

Privacy Checklist

Does it meet our minimum privacy standards?

Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?

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Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?

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Does it use cookies, telemetry, or third-party tracking scripts?

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Is the privacy policy user-friendly (easy to understand)?

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Does it have parental controls?

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Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?

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Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?

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Does it require you to create a strong password?

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Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?

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Does it have a privacy policy?

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How Can It Snoop?

What sensitive hardware access requirements does it have?

Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?

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Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?

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Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?

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Account Requirements

What information is required to create an account or use it?

Does it require an email address to use?

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Does it require a phone number to use?

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Does it require an address (home or office) to use?

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Payment Options

What payment methods are available?

Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?

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Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?

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Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?

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Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?

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What Could Go Wrong?

What's the worst case scenario for your data?

Microsoft has a decent track record when it comes to keeping their products secure. It also does a decent job on the transparency of the data it collects, uses, and ability to delete. However, be cautious, as Microsoft was allowing contractors in China to review Skype calls in an insecure manner just last year. Microsoft obviously changed their behavior, but always be aware companies may not always prioritize your privacy over profits.

How Does It Share Your Data?

Where is your data going? Who has access to it?

Microsoft can collect a good amount of data from its products including things like contact data, payment data, interactions, usage data, payment history, browse history, device, searches, images, location data, and social data. It does use other data to target you with advertising with Microsoft web properties and other partners like Verizon and Facebook.

Good Things

Why should you use it?

  • Microsoft uses encryption, puts out monthly and bi-weekly updates on both platforms, and has a bug bounty program.
  • Microsoft has a good track record in keeping your information and calls private.

Bad Things

What are the downsides?

  • Microsoft did allow Chinese contractors to review Skype calls in a unsafe matter, but Microsoft changed their ways. But, be wary the companies may prioritize your privacy over profits.
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