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Address Australian Privacy Requirements with Regional Media Zones

This article was published on July 27, 2021

Did you know that the Vonage Video API platform has people using live video chat in more than 150 countries? There was even an instance of a live video chat involving users from 13 countries at the same time.

The Vonage Video API platform provides global reach, but there are times — for example, when privacy policy requirements in Australia are involved — that media traffic must be restricted or geofenced to a specific region or country. To support the finer level of control required, we introduced our advanced security feature: regional media zones.

Enabling Tighter Control

A regional media zone is a collection of one or more data centers that are located in the same geographical region. The zone can be as large as a continent or as small as a country. Media and signaling traffic only use the data centers located within the zone.

We have one zone available in Australia. We're also available in the following four zones and plan to add more in the future:

  • European Union.
  • U.S.
  • Germany.
  • Canada.

Regional media zones help companies honor privacy policy requirements in Australia, such as the Australian Privacy Principles. Australian authorities haven't been shy about enforcing these requirements when they've determined that a company has violated them. According to Lexology, the Australian Information Commissioner has sued Facebook for a breach of the 1998 Privacy Act, alleging that the U.S.-based social media giant tapped Australian Facebook users' personal information without their consent for political advertising in the United States. For this reason, companies based in Australia or doing business there would do well to take proactive steps to comply with privacy policy requirements.

Depending on the situation, regulatory frameworks from other regions may also come into play. Australian companies doing business or offering services in the European Union must also adhere to GDPR requirements, in which case they can also benefit from using a regional media zone tailored to EU regulations. What's more, the regulatory environment is steadily becoming more stringent across the globe, highlighting the need for specialized media zones in even more regions. According to Gartner, more than 60 jurisdictions around the world, including Australia, have enacted or proposed postmodern privacy and data protection laws since GDPR went into effect.

Regional media zones are also required to meet the compliance and privacy standards of specific industries or companies. This is especially true for banking, finance, and telemedicine. A good example of these compliance requirements is the Video Consultation Requirements of the German Association of Healthcare Insurers. This document states that "video service providers may only use servers in the EU." To satisfy this requirement, our EU media zone can be used.

How Unblu Complies with the Latest EU Regulations

One customer that was immediately interested in regional media zones for Germany was Unblu. Unblu is a secure customer engagement and collaboration solution that helps the world's leading banks deliver an in-person experience online. As an innovative platform that largely works with banks across Europe, complying with European data privacy laws is immensely important to Unblu — and its clients.

As Unblu CMO Jens Rabe told us, the main reason its clients opt for Frankfurt as a data center location is due to EU data privacy and banking regulations. While these are being governed by EU laws (GDPR, MIFID2), the translation into local law tends to be most restrictive in Germany, as GDPR determines the minimum regulation but leaves it to the member states to be even more restrictive.

"Germany is the only country in Europe where we were challenged multiple times by clients who insisted that cloud needs to run in Germany," Rabe explained. "Now, we are completely aligned from a data processing perspective and can offer German prospects what they ask for across all aspects of the combined systems."

How to Get Started with Regional Media Zones

To start using media zones, simply contact us with the project API key of the project in your Vonage Video API account and the zone you wish to assign it to. Once the project is assigned to the zone, all sessions created with that project API key will use servers located in that zone.

Written by Vonage Staff

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