Taiwanese scientists develop free videoconferencing system based on open-source software

National Yang-Ming University professor leads effort of enhancing Jitsi Meet app

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(National Yang-Ming University image)

(National Yang-Ming University image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A team from Taiwan’s National Yang-Ming University has developed a videoconferencing platform with free access based on the open-source software Jitsi Meet.

Led by Chen Yu-chun (陳育群), an assistant professor at the university’s School of Medicine, the team has incorporated new features to the application for improved security. Through a one-time encryption key, users will be able to convene virtual meetings without the need to sign in.

The software can be connected via a local area network with limited access and the online meeting rooms will be closed automatically after all participants have left to ensure data security. The source code is now freely available.

Chen, who is also a doctor at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, embarked on the project by tapping his experience in assisting the hospital to develop an online medical diagnosis system. As the need for online meetings increases with employees being asked to work remotely amid the coronavirus, he hopes to offer relevant expertise for the creation of a safer videoconferencing system.

The effort came following a host of security and privacy breach incidents surrounding Zoom, which is a videoconferencing software product developed by a company founded by Chinese-American Eric Yuan (袁征).

The application has sparked national security concerns, and Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang (唐鳳) has recommended Jitsi Meet as an alternative. The application, however, had lacked privacy features before the improvements made by Chen’s team.