Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype have made it much easier for us all to work remotely and still foster a feeling of connection to our colleagues and students. However, we must be mindful of how we apply this new technology to our daily work. One of the concerns surrounding virtual meetings is the temptation to record the event. Below are some important issues and solutions to consider before you commit to hitting record:

  • When you record meetings, you are creating a record that may be released if requested under the Washington State Public Records Act or under Federal FOIA.
  • Like any other record, meeting recordings must be retained for the legally approved retention period, which, depending on content, can be as long as six years.
  • Content in video conferencing platforms is not easily accessible. This type of software does not provide good naming capabilities and can be very difficult to search. When faced with a need to retrieve information, this lack of searchability adds to the burden on departments and creates additional liability for the University.
  • Zoom offers reporting capabilities for account owners that allows them to review data on their previously hosted zoom meetings. These details can include attendee lists, polling results, surveys, and Q&A results. It is vital for users to be aware that these usage reports are being created on all UW Zoom meetings. These usage reports can be accessed and retrieved for up to 12 months after the Zoom meeting has occurred, with a search range up to one month at a time. After 12 months, the report data is automatically deleted by zoom and is no longer accessible.
  • Zoom and other video conferencing programs are not record repositories. While UW-IT provides these tools, they are not responsible for ensuring the legally approved retention period is met. Recordings stored in the Zoom cloud will be deleted automatically 120 days after the meeting is recorded. Deleted recordings are moved to Zoom Trash, where they are stored for 30 days and can be retrieved during this time. After that point recordings are no longer accessible. It is your office’s responsibility to ensure that any recordings with requirements for retention are saved to another location where they can be found, opened, and viewed for their full retention period.

The 120-day automatic deletion policy also applies to any Zoom chat or private messages. Chat messages sent in Microsoft Teams meetings are subject to their own automated 30-day retention after the meeting has taken place

When hosting a meeting, consider whether you need to record and why. If you have not previously recorded similar meetings, don't record just because you can. Recording without a specific reason is not worth the extra liability and risk to the University and your office. This risk includes the possibility of public interpretation or misinterpretation of any verbal exchange at the meeting.

Notice & Consent

When you record a meeting, be mindful of laws that may relate to recordings (e.g., RCW 9.73.030 – Washington’s two-party consent requirements for private conversations). UW recommends against recording staff or one-on-one conversations, and when recordings include students or members of the public it is suggested you obtain consent from all participants or, at a minimum, notify all attendees that the event is being recorded. Refer to the UW Privacy Office’s Best Practice for Online Conferencing for more information regarding consent and privacy.

Applying Retention to Recordings and Report Data

The versatility of platforms like Zoom and Teams allows us to hold online meetings for a variety of different workplace purposes. It is the function and content of a recorded meeting which determines how long the recording must be retained. Below are some common examples with links to the University General Records Retention Schedule.

Meeting usage reports that include attendee lists, polling data, surveys, and Q&A results are considered transitory and do not need to be downloaded or retained locally. They will be accessible in the Zoom platform for 12 months after the meeting has occurred in case you need to reference them, after which time they will be permanently deleted from the Zoom system.

Saving a Recording

If you need to retain your recording for longer than 120 days:

Transfer the recording to an enduring, shared location (such as a departmental network drive or OneDrive for Business). Organize recordings into folders by type of meeting. Include the event/meeting name and date in the file/subfolder name so that the recording can be found, if needed, as well as identified for deletion once the appropriate retention period is up. Apply retention and delete recordings (at least) annually using the date information included in the file/folder name.

Suggested file naming conventions include:

  •  Monthly XYZ Meetings 2020
    •   March 10, 2020
    •   April 11, 2020
  •  Recorded Events 2020
    •   Alumni Fundraiser 03.01.2020
    •   Undergrad Graduation Celebration 06.02.2020
    •   Retirement of Jane Smith, Chair 09.03.2020
  •  Collaboration Meetings 2020
    •  Sprint Meetings
      •   June 3, 2020
      •   June 10, 2020
  •  XYZ Program 2020 Quarterly Report Outs
    •   March
    •   June
    •   September
    •   December
  •  Check-In Meetings 2020
    •  Leader’s Huddle
      •   March 2020
      •   April 2020
    •  One-on-One Mtgs
      •  March 2020
        •   Martha Washington-John Smith
        •   Martha Washington-Tom Jones

Please contact Records Management Services for more information given your particular situation.

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