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Community Champion

"You're on Mute"

In a study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Loyola University in Chicago, researchers performed a thorough runtime binary analysis of selected conferencing apps to determine what type of data each collects and whether that data constitutes a privacy risk.


The apps tested in the study were Zoom, Slack, MS Teams/Skype, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, WhereBy, GoToMeeting, Jitsi Meet, and Discord.


The team traced raw audio transmitted from the apps to the audio driver of the underlying OS, and eventually to the network. This way, they could determine what changes actually occurred when a user presses 'mute.' They found that no matter the mute status, all apps occasionally collected audio data, except for web clients that used the browser's software mute feature.


Notably, WebEx was found to continuously sample a user’s microphone (when muted). Researchers leave us with the question: is there a potential of learning the user background activities from audio
statistics sent to Webex’s servers?


Here is a link to the research paper "Are You Really Muted?: A Privacy Analysis of Mute Buttons in Video Conferencing Apps"

3 Replies
Defender I

Seems the best option is to use a desktop computer with no built in microphone, and unplug your mic when you want to go mute.

My iMac has a mic built in, just like almost all (all?) laptops, so it appears that option is not available for us Maccers.


D. Cragin Shelton, DSc
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@CraginS   However, MacBook Air, does have the capability to have either an external Mic/headphone or internal.   Majority of the time, I use an external headset, given I have been working remotely from home for the past couple of years.   The other suggestion is to turn the audio down on the microphone - which is inconvenient at the best of times, especially when you are expected to respond to quesitons raised by others.


Apparently Cisco are well aware of this issue and are dealing with it.





Viewer II

Would the noise cancellation feature of the VCA apps overcome this gap, it is supposed to be suppressing unwanted background noise.


I am a windows user and I use powertoys that has a nice little module called Video conference mute , since it is users the global Windows API for Audio muting I find a suitable workaround to overcome the risks associated with the inApp muting.