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Slacks policy update: What it means for you Several People Are TypingThe Official Slack Blog

Slacks policy update: What it means foryou

(Nov. 3, 2016 editors note: Weve since updated our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Please visit our Help Center for responses to some commonly asked questions.)

You probably have noticed that Slack is adding a lot of new features and growing very quickly. That growth means we need to take stock of our policies to make sure they align with all the new features we are launching. With that as background, we are making some carefully considered changes to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. We have a thorough FAQ that discusses all of our changes in detail. But here, however, wed like to focus on the change we think might generate the most possible confusion and the greatest concern. Let us put this into context for you.

First, we all know that Slack is a business communication tool. We think its a pretty great tool. Sadly, there are businesses today that want to use Slack but cant. Why? Because they have very specific legal and regulatory requirements that require they have access to and store ALL employee communications. This includes companies with on-going litigation and financial services and securities trading firms regulated under FINRA, to cite two examples.

To meet these specific needs of this group of companies, Slack has built a feature called Compliance Exports as part of the Slack Plus planthe level above the Standard Plan. It allows team owners of organizations using the Plus plan to export all their team communications subject to their team message retention and deletion policies.

Unlike regular exports which exports only communications in channels that all team members can see, Compliance Exports will include communication in private groups and direct messages. In addition, Compliance Exports may include the edit history for messages that team members have edited as well as messages that team members have marked for deletion.

Because this capability has serious privacy implications, we are making changes to our Privacy Policy. When we make a significant change to our Privacy Policy, we let everyone know even though only a very small percentage of our users might be affected, as in this case.

We understand that team members may be concerned about team owners having access to their private communications. So weve added some protections to ensure that its being used appropriately. The most important of which is that this feature is not retroactive. Past private conversations will remain private. In addition, here are some of the steps we are taking and limitations weve put in place:

Its worth repeatingCompliance Exports are not retroactive and do not apply to past private conversations before the feature is enabled.

Private communications subject to Compliance Exports are not viewable within Slack, nor does Slack provide any interface for team owners to view or search these files. Team owners have the option of building their own interface or using one of several message archival and compliance companies like Global Relay, Smarsh or others to access the records.

Transparency is a key privacy principle for us at Slack and an important part of building and maintaining trust. In addition to alerting team members when Compliance Exports is enabled, we are also launching Your Team Settings today to show team members the message retention and deletion policies that are in place for their teams.

We always want to be very clear with you about how the product works and equally clear about how changes may impact you. We hope this has been helpful. We welcome your feedback and are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Anne TothVP, Policy & Compliance Strategy

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