DISCLAIMER: this is not legal nor technical advice. It is just a WIP proposal, open to discussion, on how a Jitsi server can be quickly (and legally) deployed in order to host one’s own private videomeetings – “one” meaning a teacher, a school, a professional, a business providing videomeeting services for their own students, colleagues or clients, in the spirit of user-owned cloud.

This project by the Jitsi Club includes documentation and scripts to fill gaps and put together some sparse pieces of the official documentation, in order to enable people to implement a self-hosted videoconferencing solution that can compete with mainstream proprietary solutions and that is privacy compliant, too.

The Problems and the Solution

On the one hand, the default Jitsi deployment (official debian packages) is intended for supplying a videoconferencing system open to anyone in the Internet, without registration. Since Jitsi

  • does process (and store in logs) browsing data and conversation metadata and

  • does not implement E2E encryption (unless under certain specific use conditions) – so audio/video streams flow unencrypted within the server,

offering a Jitsi server accessible to anyone without authentication may imply legal and security issues that cannot be handled (and it would not make sense they were handled) by small organizations and individuals, and in any case it does not fit the needs of who is willing to set up a private videoconferencing system to host their own private meetings. Moreover, some Jitsi default audio/video settings are not optimal for hosting meetings with more than 10 participants. So, installing Jitsi is easy, but its practical use requires manual setting.

On the other hand, Jitsi is made of different sub-components and some of them (Prosody) are third party components, thus the relevant documentation is fragmented accordingly; one has to search and put together different pieces of documentation from different sources to achieve the desired result (set up a private videoconferencing system to host one’s own private meetings). Moreover, as to privacy compliance concerns, the relevant information to make informed decisions as Data Controller (in the sense of the GDPR) is fragmented, too, and in some cases it is rather imprecise.

So we constituted the “Jitsi Club” and created this project to share experiences among self-hosting Jitsi users and define a standard deployment for a private, self-hosted, GDPR-compliant videoconferencing system.

Covered Topics

  • legal compliance analysis and compliant implementation proposals;

  • things to know about Jitsi in order to deploy it in a GDPR compliant way (in brief: even if Jitsi does not store conversation contents by default, it does process personal data to operate and store browsing data and conversation metadata in logs, which are personal data; it implements client-server encryption, but it does not generally implement end-to-end encryption between clients, unless in some cases; authentication is not enabled by default and Jitsi is accessible by anyone in the Internet - so it has to be properly configured, in order to be GDPR compliant);

  • simple guide on how to implement Jitsi in a GDPR-compliant way and to optimize it for use by medium and large teams/groups, covering some topics that are not covered in Jitsi official documentation;

  • TODO: privacy policy template;

  • TODO: scripts to fully automate the installation, configuration and tuning described in the guide.