Teams Adds Explicit Consent for Recorded Meetings

New Policy to Control the Need for Explicit Consent for Teams Recordings

I see that some of the sites that I refer to as the “ChatGPT of the Microsoft 365 world” (capable only of repeating what has been written beforehand by someone else) are very excited about message center notification MC523053 (3 March 2023). The notification covers the introduction of explicit recording consent for Teams meetings (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 107781), due to roll out in general availability later this month for commercial and GCC tenants. GCC-High and DOD tenants will see the feature by June.

I’m surprised that the recording of Teams meetings has got this far without explicit recording consent. In the absence of a feature to capture user consent, many organizations where I have joined Teams calls resort to someone reading out prepared text at the start of the call. The text normally goes something like this: “welcome to this call hosted by the XYZ corporation. If you don’t consent to the recording of the call, please disconnect now.” Essentially, the new feature is a computer-enforced version with some added smarts.

Updating Teams Meeting Policies

Explicit recording consent is disabled by default, meaning that Teams works like it always has unless an administrator enables the feature. This can’t be done through the Teams admin center today (support is coming), so you’ll need to update Teams meeting policies with PowerShell. The policy setting is per-user and applies to the meeting organizer. After the setting is enabled in a meeting policy, any meeting organized by accounts assigned the policy will use explicit consent for recorded meetings. The setting is retrospective and applies to meetings organized by users within the scope of the policy.

If you update some but not all meeting policies, users will have different experiences in meetings where consent is required in some but not all calls. For this reason, it’s generally best to be consistent across all meeting policies and have consent enabled or disabled everywhere.

Exceptions to the general rule will occur. For instance, local regulations might mandate that consent is necessary to join a recorded call. In that case, you could assign a Teams meeting policy with consent enabled to users where those regulation apply.

To enable explicit recording consent for a meeting policy, run the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy from the MicrosoftTeams PowerShell module. For example, this command updates the default (global) policy:

Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity "Global" -ExplicitRecordingConsent Enabled

Like any change to a Teams policy, expect to wait several hours before the new setting is effective.

What Explicit Recording Consent Does

When people join a meeting organized by someone that an explicit consent for recordings applies to and a recording starts, each participant gets the chance to give their consent for recording. In terms of a Teams meeting, this covers:

Basically, Teams blocks any contribution that could come from a participant until they consent to recording. While the block is in place, the user can see and hear contributions from other meeting participants.

When the meeting organizer (or a presenter) starts a meeting with explicit consent, Teams highlights the need to gain consent before it allows recording to start (Figure 1).

Teams warns about the need for explicit consent before it allows recording to start

Explicit consent for Teams recordings
Figure 1: Teams warns about the need for explicit consent before it allows recording to start

When recording starts, users see that Teams disabled their microphone and video in the join screen. After joining the call, Teams informs them that they must give consent to be recorded. To start the consent process, they unmute their audio or turn on their camera (Figure 2).

The warning after a user joins a meeting that they need to give consent for recording
Figure 2: The warning after a user joins a meeting that they need to give consent for recording

The final step is for the user to give consent (Figure 3). When this happens, Teams enables their microphone, camera, and sharing.

The option to give explicit consent for recording

Teams explicit consent
Figure 3: How users give explicit consent for Teams recordings

Client UI Needed to Give Consent

Microsoft points out that the enable recording consent feature depends on the meeting attendance report to track when users give consent. If your organization blocks the generation of attendance reports (by setting AllowEngagementReport to Disabled in Teams meeting policies)., tracking consent can’t work. Microsoft says that these customers should wait “for a future release.

Older clients don’t include the UI necessary to give consent, so to make sure that people can give consent for recording, they’ll need to use a Teams client released after March 1, 2023. Microsoft makes an exception for Teams meeting rooms and PSTN participants as these interfaces cannot give explicit consent. For now, Teams notes their consent data in the attendance report as “not applicable” or “auto consent.” Current CarPlay clients don’t have the necessary UI either, so you won’t be able to participate fully in calls either. The audio component is obviously the most important loss for CarPlay users. Using Teams on a mobile device connected to the car via Bluetooth is an available workaround.

Welcome Change for Many Organizations

I’m sure that many organizations will welcome the introduction of explicit consent for meeting recording. Any organization that grapples with privacy issues and employee concerns in this area will see the value of explicit consent for recording. It’s the kind of feature that you never knew was so valuable until it’s needed.

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3 Replies to “Teams Adds Explicit Consent for Recorded Meetings”

  1. Tony any idea if this is supported on the Teams Web client on Edge (which I’m using to test)? I’ve made the policy change and allowed almost 24 hours.

      1. Thanks for the prompt response Tony! I actually managed to test using the Windows Teams client just now and there has been no change in client behavior. As you say then it has has yet to reach our tenant. Will just have to be patient at the mercy of the cloud!

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