Student privacy in Zoom

This guide outlines the privacy rights of students in Zoom meetings, recordings or situations where an audio and video presence may be required.

  1. Prior to the recording of online teaching sessions, instructors should provide adequate notification that the sessions will be recorded and provide details about how the recordings will be handled by the University (refer to point A).
  2. As a student, you generally have the option to NOT turn on your audio and/or video function if you prefer not to be recorded. However, you need to turn on your audio and/or video function when reasonably required for a necessary purpose (refer to point B).

Note: “Recording” includes any video, audio, or transcribed record of your personal information. It does not include live transcription or closed captioning, but it does include any saved or downloaded transcript or captions record.


A. Notifications to students that online teaching sessions will be recorded

In accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), the University must notify you as a student (usually through a Privacy Collection Notice) that online teaching sessions, which may capture your voice, image or speech will be recorded. You should be notified in a reasonable manner prior to recording of the session(s) (eg, an announcement or information in the LMS shared with students prior to joining an online session would be deemed reasonable notification).

These notifications should clearly explain:

  • The subject session(s) will be recorded, and if you choose to turn on your audio or video functions to participate in the session, your voice, image and/or speech will be recorded.
  • The primary purpose for recording the sessions and how they will be used (eg, the recording will be made available to all enrolled students in the subject via the LMS and/or Lecture Capture until the end of semester, or accessed by relevant instructors to assess their work).
  • That you can choose to not turn on your audio or video function if you prefer not to be recorded (except in circumstances where it may be mandatory for a specific purpose).
  • Any consequences if you choose to not turn on your audio or video function outside of those mandatory purposes (eg, it may limit your ability to participate, which in turn may affect your assessment outcome if there are participation grades).
  • That further information about how the University handles student information can be found in the Student Privacy Statement.

Additionally, students are advised that in accordance with the University’s Student Conduct Policy (Section 4.2), students may not themselves take photographs, video or audio recordings of lectures, tutorials, rehearsals, performances or practical classes without the express permission of the staff member supervising the activity (or the subject coordinator) and the written permission of any identifiable individuals, or their legal guardians.

Recording online teaching and student privacy

Recordings that contain the personal information of students can only be used for:

  • The primary purpose for which the information was collected (as described in the Privacy Collection Notice)
  • For a secondary purpose that would be reasonably expected by students
  • With valid student consent.

Recordings should not be uploaded to public video-sharing platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo) without valid student consent. Note there may also be copyright implications when sharing recordings publicly.

B. The option for students to not be recorded and important limits to that option

In accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), students should only be required to provide the University with personal information, such as the recording of their voice, image or speech, if it is necessary to fulfil a function of the University.

So, when is it deemed necessary to require your audio and/or video function be active if you normally opt out?

Example of when it may be reasonable to require a student’s voice, image or speech to be recorded:

Recording of students may be necessary to administer aspects of their subject requirements. For example, a student’s online live performance examination or oral language assessment may reasonably need to be recorded for assessors to effectively assess the student’s work. In this example, the need for adequate notification should be adequately informing students that aspects of the subject require that they be recorded for those particular sessions.

Example of when students should have the option NOT to be recorded:

Students should have the option not to be recorded (ie turn your audio and/or video function off) if the collection and use of the personal information (in this case your voice and/or image) is not required to fulfil a necessary function.

For example, lectures or tutorials may be recorded for the purpose of making subject content available to all students in a subject throughout the semester. If students choose to participate, their voice and/or image will be incidentally captured in the recording. However, the recording of a student’s voice or image is not required to provide students with access to subject content.

In this example, students must be adequately informed that an online teaching session will be recorded, and that students can choose not to turn on their audio or video functions if they prefer not to be recorded. Your instructor may encourage you to participate by turning on your audio and/or video functions to maximise your learning experience, but you have the option to not do so if you prefer.

Background - legislative context

C. What are the University’s privacy obligations?

The University is subject to the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic). Accordingly:

  • Personal information (ie recordings of students’ voice, image or speech) should only be collected by the University:
    • If it is necessary to fulfil one or more of its functions,
    • By lawful and fair means, and
    • Not in an unreasonably intrusive way.
  • The University must provide notice of the collection (usually through a Privacy Collection Notice), outlining matters such as the purpose of collection and how the information will be used.
  • Personal information can only be used for the primary purpose for which it was collected (as described in the Privacy Collection Notice), or for a secondary purpose that would be reasonably expected.

The University is also subject to the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in certain circumstances (which relates to the personal information of individuals located in the European Economic Area):

  • Personal data collected and processed should be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is processed.
  • The University must have a lawful basis for processing personal data (eg legitimate interest, consent).

This guide is a variation for students of a Student Privacy knowledge base article in Service Now

This page was last updated 11 Oct 2022.
Please report any errors or omissions in this guide by submitting an Learning Environments support request.

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