UW Privacy Office

Privacy Best Practices for Live Streaming

Last updated on May 14, 2024

Live streaming is a useful way to engage with groups. Proper implementation of live streaming tools helps protect the privacy of viewers, presenters, and other individuals who may appear on-screen. The below best practices for live streaming advance privacy.

Presenters and Others Appearing On-screen

Before live streaming begins, live stream organizers should inform presenters and anyone who will appear on-screen of:

  • The intended subject matter including any sensitive discussion topics;
  • The anticipated audience (ex. categories of viewers, public access, limited group access, etc.);
  • The types of anticipated audience interactions (ex. Q&A segments, etc.), if any;
  • Live stream recordings, if any;
  • Whether a live stream recording will become on-demand content, where it will be available, and the duration it will be available for viewing;
  • UW retention schedules that may apply to recorded live streams;
  • Social media access to and interactions with the live stream, if any;
  • Whether any third-parties beyond the anticipated audience (ex. the live streaming solution provider, etc.) will have access to, record, or otherwise retain any live streamed content; and
  • Other relevant details that could influence an individual’s decision to present or appear on-screen.

Respect Individual Preferences

The ability to participate in an event should not be conditioned on the willingness of any individual to appear on-screen, especially if live streaming is optional and not required to achieve the primary purpose of the event (i.e., the event could take place without live streaming). Depending on the nature of an event, organizers may need to make accommodations for individuals who are unwilling to appear on-screen so that they are not excluded from the event.

Using a Live Streaming Tool

When configuring a live streaming tool, be sure that organizers are the only individuals with administrative privileges to manage a live stream. Disable all recording features unless prior consent for recording is obtained from all presenters and individuals who will appear on-screen. Some third-party live streaming solutions include the ability to prompt individuals for consent before entering a recorded event. To the extent possible, restrict live stream access to just those individuals who need to participate in an event (ex. send invitations and/or dial-in instructions to specific individuals). Consult the documentation for your selected live streaming tool for details on how to manage settings for the considerations described above.

Social Media and Live Streaming

Some live streaming solutions allow organizers to stream content on social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Organizers that leverage social media integrations should, to the extent possible, disable:

  • Comments;
  • Likes and reactions;
  • Visible viewer lists that reveal a viewers’ names, usernames, and/or photos;
  • Notifications revealing new viewers who join a live stream; and
  • Other similar features.

Consult the documentation for your selected social media platform for details on how to disable the features described above.

Additional Live Streaming Considerations

Regardless of the solution used for live streaming, applicable privacy laws (such as FERPA, EU GDPR, and others) must be addressed. Certain privacy laws may require the provision of notice and/or the solicitation of consent before personal data is processed in the context of a live stream. Before launching a live stream, be sure that you have addressed relevant compliance obligations.

Separately, live streaming tools should only be used for events with an audience. Live streaming is not appropriate for private, 1-on-1 interactions or communications.

Additional Resources

UW IT Connect: Protect your Zoom meeting space and class sessions

U.S. Department of Education: FAQs on Photos and Videos under FERPA

Version March 26, 2020