Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Digital Teaching

Questions on Legal Issues

  • Is HU-Zoom safe?
    I heard that there are some data protections issues with Zoom. Are these true and how can I protect my data?

    We are aware of the criticism and current concerns. We try to document all measures taken with regard to Zoom and to communicate in a transparent way which data is collected in context with the use of Zoom. We try to configure Zoom in a way that aims for data security and handling as little data as possible. Please check our website concerning the issue:

    Please also read the data protection note that was developed together with HU’s data protection officer.

    We collect all questions regarding the use of Zoom in our specific Zoom-FAQs that we keep up to date.

  • Can I protect my classes against unwanted recording?

    Technically, no. Legally, yes. Nowadays, any smart phone can record your lecture or class almost anywhere at any time. This is the case for on-campus classes as well as online classes. There is no technical solution to protect you against this. This situation is not generally different in HU Zoom. Only the host has the possibilty to record a meeting with HU Zoom. 

    The unauthorized recording and publishing of a class without the permission of all active participants is a violation of copyrights and of personality rights and can be prosecuted.

    If you have justified concerns that a record of your online class was misused, please contact HU's legal department.

  • Can I protect my teaching materials against unwanted use?

    This situation is regulated by law. As teaching staff responsible for classes and as a creator of teaching/learning materials, you can determine the use and distribution of your own materials. We recommend that you mark your own materials by copyright and that you define the allowed distribution space. If you put your teaching/learning materials online, you can limit its use and distribution to the specific class in which it is used.

    In Moodle you can further secure your class by using a course password ("Einschreibeschlüssel").

    In case of a misuse of individually made materials (e.g. presentations and videos), teaching staff and students can assert their own copyrights and make use of private prosecution.

    If you have any justified concerns regarding the misuse of your teaching/learning materials, we recommend that you contact HU's legal department.

  • I am afraid I will get mis-cited or cited out of the context when teaching an online class. How can I protect myself against this?

    To get misunderstood or to get cited incorrectly is a risk one always has to face when working in academia. We recommend talking about common expectations and rules at the beginning of each class. Clarifying the basic rules for discussions in academia can be helpful. Also, in an online context, creating a netiquette can help.

    If you are aiming for more safety, we highly recommend to focus on asynchronous teaching. If you are distributing recorded lectures, you will minimize the risk to be misunderstood because of a spontaneous comment you make. If you produce your own videos, you can control the content in a way you could hardly to do so when teaching a class on campus. 

  • How can I protect my classes from behavioral disorders?

    We recommend to talk to the participants at the beginning of your online course about common expectations. You can clarify some basic rules for academic discussions or set up an online netiquette. 

    Meetings with HU Zoom are secured with a password, so it is not possible to join a meeting by following the Meeting ID alone.

    Zooms makes it possible for the person chairing the meeting to set up a digital "waiting area" and to let in participants individually. This way you can make sure that no external trolls are going to take part.

    Also, as a standard configuration, screen sharing is not activated for participants in HU Zoom.

    Please also take note of our recommendations for trouble-free Zoom meetings (in German):


  • Is there a template for a privacy statement for online meetings?

    Clear rules apply to the recording of HU Zoom Meetings. Only the host can record meetings. At the beginning of a session, two texts are displayed (one for the host, the other for the participants) before recording starts. These texts were written together with the HU's official data protection officer.

    The rules for recording can be found on the updated overview page (with further links):