We stellen graag aan je voor: Nadia Benaissa

Looking for a privacy friendly tool for your video chats? Try Jitsi.

Tool nodig om te videobellen? Probeer Jitsi.
DOSSIER: Doe-het-zelf

Your world has been turned upside down. Everyone is falling into new routines and new tools. Over the past week we received a lot of questions about video chatting. We're analyzing some of the most popular services out there to let you know to what extent they respect your privacy. We hope it will help you make informed decisions about which tools suit you best. In the mean time we have one tip: Jitsi.

Credits:
Tim Mossholder

What is Jitsi Meet?

Jitsi Meet is a service you can use to make video calls. The technology can be used by everyone. It's a little bit like Wordpress in that regard: you can set up a blog that's hosted by Wordpress (cats.wordpress.com), or you can install Wordpress on your own website and host it yourself (like we do on this site). The same goes for Jitsi Meet. The website VC4ALLView their (growing) list. has compiled a list of Dutch organisations that host Jitsi Meet, and the French non-profit Framasoft has a list of all known Jitsi-hostersVisit the website Framatalk, which hosts a list of all known Jitsi-instances and Framasoft's own installation.. And of course the company that made the software in the first place also hosts an installation: meet.jit.siCreate your own video chat channel with Jitsi Meet. .

You can use Jitsi Meet in your browser or by downloading an app onto your smartphone. You don't have to download anything and you don't even need an account. Jitsi Meet has standard videoconferencing functionality such as group chat and private chat, screen share, the possibility to blur your background or share a YouTube video. You can adjust the image quality to match faster and slower internet connections, and of course you can also use the tool without enabling your camera.

What about security and privacy?

Safe and private communication tools share a few characteristics: they're easy to use, open source, respect your privacy and encrypt your traffic. Jitsi Meet scores relatively well.

User friendly: when you use Jitsi Meet in your browser, you can create your own URL and others can join your "channel" without needing to create an account. Easy!

Open source: this means that the service's source code is open. In theory, anyone could look into the code and check if the service really does what it says it does. It can also contribute to vulnerabilities in the code being found as soon as possible.

Encryption: you really want your online communication to be end-to-end encrypted. This means that your message can't be read by a third party while it's traveling from you to another person. Jitsi Meet is not end-to-end encrypted (contrary to, for instance, Signal and WhatsApp). The organisation that hosts Jitsi Meet can see the content of your traffic. Your communication is encrypted while traveling from you to the hoster, and while traveling from the hoster to the people you're chatting with.

Privacy: bizarrely, meet.jit.si doesn't (yet!) feature a privacy policy. (Most of the Dutch organisations that host Jitsi Meet also don't have one.)* So yesterday we asked Jitsi a few questions on Twitter Follow this link to view the Twitter thread. . They let us know that no processing of images, sound and text is done beyond what is technically essential in order to enable communications between meeting participants.

Update: various organisations are in the process of publishing a privacy policy, among which Bit, VC4ALL and Jitsi. We're linking to them at the bottom of this blog post.

Conclusion

This might be the first time we've ever suggested you use a service that doesn't have a privacy policy (and hopefully it will be the last!). However. We realize there's a lack of secure and private tools out there that you can use to have video calls between more than two people. Although we'll be releasing a more elaborate analysis of different video chat services soon, at the moment Jitsi Meet is the best advice we can give you.

As the organisation that hosts a jitsi-installation can access the contents of your communication, it's really important that you trust the hoster you choose. Maybe that's the company that developed Jitsi Meet, maybe it's someone else. Our advice? If at all possible, choose a hoster that has a privacy policy.

What's next?

Jitsi has promised to add a privacy policy to meet.jit.si. We won't forget that promise. A few Dutch hosters have also informed us that they're working on a privacy policy. We'll keep you updated! In the mean time: thanks to the GDPR you have the right to accessRequesting access is easy with the help of our tool My Data Done Right. the data organisations have about you. That goes for the hosters of video chat services as well.

Share your additions or improvements to this blog in the comments below, and feel free to share your tips and experiences!

Update 27 March 2020: Bit published a privacy policy, see https://meetme.bit.nl.
Update 31 March 2020: VC4ALL published a privacy policy, see vc4all.nl (PDF).
Update 31 March 2020: Jitsi Meet published a privacy policy, see https://jitsi.org/meet-jit-si-privacy/

  1. Sredlums

    Dank voor het duidelijke artikel, denk dat veel mensen wat meer oog krijgen voor het privacy-aspect, nu de eerste gewenning aan de nieuwe situatie intreedt. Een artikel als dit scheelt dan veel uitzoekwerk en vergroot dus de kans dat mensen een betere keuze maken.
    Vraag me alleen af waarom het in het Engels is?
    Mijn Engels is prima, en van vele anderen, zeker van de meeste ‘digi-vaardigen’ waarschijnlijk ook wel, maar misschien juist niet van de mensen die je met dit artikel wil bereiken. Hoe lager de drempel naar goed advies is, hoe beter lijkt me, en aangezien dit artikel op een NL’se website staat en bedoeld is voor een NL’s publiek snap ik die keuze niet zo goed.

    • Sredlums

      Haha, hm, zie nu pas de NL’se variant van dit artikel. Skip dus mijn eerdere commentaar: goed dat het in twee talen wordt aangeboden.
      Blijft er toch nog één klein kritiekpuntje over… waarom niet even een linkje naar het artikel in het Nederlands (en vice versa)?

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