It’s impossible to prove that it can’t be (or wasn’t) recorded: you can’t prove a negative. And ultimately, if this is something that really concerns you, then don’t do that!
But I don’t think there’s going to be a problem here. In practical terms, with one exception that most people don’t think about, it’s highly unlikely.
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Fear of intimate interception
This is a surprisingly common question, and the scary part is I don’t really understand why.
If you look through the comments on this article, you’ll see person after person after person ask what is essentially the exact same question. What’s scary is that they’re asking after the fact, and most are scared out of their wits that the answer is, “Yes, your intimate chat could have been intercepted and recorded.”
It’s also scary how many don’t bother to read the article they’re commenting on, which answers the question. (And which is why comments on this article remain closed.)
Three reasons why you might be OK
There’s probably no intermediary
Most video chat is over a direct machine-to-machine connection. In order to deliver the video stream as efficiently as possible, the data goes directly from your computer to theirs. There’s no server or service in the middle processing (or capturing) the video stream.
Most chats are encrypted
Depending on the service you use, the data transmitted is very likely to be encrypted. Even someone who could intercept the data — like your ISP, for example — probably can’t decipher it.
You’re just not that interesting
I’m sorry to disappoint, but you and I just aren’t that interesting to the people who might have the ability to intercept and watch whatever it was you did on video.
Yes, all three of those points are qualified: “probably”, “most”, and, of course, you could be “interesting” if you’re in a position of power or have some other sensitive role. But it’s extremely unlikely any of those three wouldn’t apply to your video chat.
The most common reason why you might not be OK
The most common reason video chat is recorded has nothing at all to do with technology, intermediaries, or even your position in life.
It’s trivial for the person at the other end to record your video. Screen-recording software like Camtasia or QuickTime (which is included with every Mac) can do it easily. The only requirement is that it be running on the computer at one end of the video conversation.
That’s the only scenario I’ve heard of where video chat is, indeed, recorded: someone is lured into an intimate video session which is captured by the person at the other end. That person uses that video for blackmail. There is nothing that can be done.
The other scenario where video recording is theoretically possible is if you or your video partner have malware on your machine. I’ve never heard of this happening.
It’s really all about trust
If you’re certain you can truly trust the person at the other end, then it’s unlikely you have anything to worry about.
However, if you have any concern at all, the answer is simple: never engage in video activity you wouldn’t want to be made public.
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