What’s going on?
Starting on August 24th, we will no longer support the anonymous creation of rooms on meet.jit.si, and will require the use of an account (we will be supporting Google, GitHub and Facebook for starters but may modify the list later on). This is a first for us, so users may encounter a few bumps here and there as we are tweaking the experience to make sure there is as little friction as possible on the way into a meeting.
Why make a change?
When we started the service back in 2013, our goal was to offer a meeting experience with as little friction and as much privacy as possible. We felt and still feel that both of these goals are very important and one of the main reasons that justified the existence of “yet another meeting service.” We wanted people to be able to converse easily and freely, without fear of expressing their views and opinions.
Our “one tap and you’re in” experience was a big part of our strategy to eliminate friction. We didn’t want people to have to worry about “creating” meetings in advance, remembering passwords, codes or long complicated sequences of numbers for a meeting ID. We wanted users to be able to think of a name and just go there. Through the years we’ve had to compromise on this a little bit. We ended up introducing a pre-meeting device check screen. We felt that checking your camera and microphone before you entered a room could save everyone some hassle so it was worth the pause.
As for privacy, we previously made sure all communication was always encrypted and we retained no data beyond what is necessary to actually provide a decent meeting service.
Offering the possibility to anonymously use the service felt like a good way to help with both its privacy and the usability.
Our commitment to both goals remains as strong as ever but anonymity is no longer going to be one of the tools we use to achieve them.
Earlier this year we saw an increase in the number of reports we received about some people using our service in ways that we cannot tolerate. To be more clear, this was not about some people merely saying things that others disliked.
Over the past several months we tried multiple strategies in order to end the violations of our terms of service. However in the end, we determined that requiring authentication was a necessary step to continue operating meet.jit.si.
How does this impact user privacy on meet.jit.si?
It is a good time to have a look at our privacy terms. 8×8 will now store the account responsible for creating rooms. Aside from the changes to our privacy terms referenced above, there is no other change to our meetings. We are still very much committed to holding user privacy in the highest regard and we still have no tools that would allow us to compromise the privacy of the actual audio or video content of a meeting, nor do we intend to create any.
That said, it is completely understandable that some users may feel uncomfortable using an account to access the service. For such cases we strongly recommend hosting your own deployment of Jitsi Meet. We spend a lot of effort to keep that a very simple process and this has always been the mode of use that gives people the highest degree of privacy.
If you see content that violates the jit.si terms of service you can always report it.
That’s all we’ve got for now!
The Jitsi Team