Control access to your presence information in Lync

What is “presence” in Lync? What’s a “privacy relationship” in Lync? Why do I need to know? If you’ve wondered about these or similar questions, you’ll find answers here. First we’ll define some key terms. Then we’ll summarize what information each privacy relationship provides access to. Finally, we’ll explain how to change the privacy relationships that you have with your contacts and how to limit access to your presence information when you need to.

What exactly is presence information?

Your presence information includes your availability status (such as Available or Away), a color-coded presence indicator (such as green, yellow, or red), your schedule, your location, and your personal or out-of-office notes.

What are privacy relationships?

In Lync, privacy relationships control how much of your presence information others see. Each of your contacts has one of five privacy relationships with you, and each relationship gives access to a different amount of information. For example, Colleagues, which is the relationship new contacts are given by default when you add them, can learn more about where you are, when you’ll be available, and how to reach you than External Contacts but less than Workgroup. Friends and Family, as you might expect, can see more of this information than all the others. (The one exception here is that contacts you have a Workgroup relationship with may need to find you at your work site, so only these contacts can see your meeting locations and get your attention via Lync even if you’ve set your status to Do Not Disturb.)

Which privacy levels give access to what information?

This table shows who can see what:

Type of information: Available to:
External Contacts? Colleagues? Workgroup? Friends & Family?
Presence Information Yes Yes Yes Yes
Presence Status Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display Name Yes Yes Yes Yes
Email Address Yes Yes Yes Yes
Title * Yes Yes Yes Yes
Work Phone * Yes Yes
Mobile Phone * Yes
Home Phone * Yes
Other Phone Yes Yes Yes Yes
Company * Yes Yes Yes Yes
Office * Yes Yes Yes Yes
SharePoint Site * Yes
Meeting Location # Yes
Meeting Subject # Yes Yes Yes
Free Busy Yes Yes Yes
Working Hours Yes Yes Yes
Location # Yes Yes Yes
Notes (Out-of-Office Note) Yes Yes Yes
Notes (Personal) Yes Yes Yes
Last Active Yes Yes Yes
Personal Photo Web Address (if applicable) Yes Yes Yes Yes
  • An asterisk (*) above indicates that if this information is defined in an organization’s directory service, it will be visible to all contacts in your organization, regardless of privacy relationship, and to external contacts (if configured and recognized by your organization’s network).
  • A pound sign (#) above indicates that this information is visible by default.

Change your privacy relationship with a contact

To view your contacts according to their privacy relationships:

  • Open Lync, and, in your Contacts list, click the Relationships tab in the area just above your contacts (other options are Groups, Status, and New).

To change the privacy relationship you have with a contact:

  • In your Contacts list, right-click the contact, point to Change Privacy Relationship, and then click a new privacy relationship for the contact.

By default, contacts are assigned the Colleagues privacy relationship when you add them to your Contacts list. If you have any contacts that you’ve later assigned to another relationship, you can change the privacy relationship back to Colleagues by clicking either Colleagues or Auto-assign Relationship.

Hide your location

By default, Lync updates your location when you log on from different places. You can hide this information from others by doing the following:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the location menu under your name.
  2. Clear the check box next to Show Others My Location.

Enable Privacy Mode

By default, everyone except Blocked Contacts can see your presence status. To modify the privacy settings, you can do the following:

  1. In the Lync main window, click the Options button.
  2. In the Lync - Options dialog box, click Status, and then do one of the following:
  • Click I want everyone to be able to see my presence regardless of system settings (override default settings).
  • Click I want the system administrator to decide - currently everyone can see my presence but this could change in the future.

About Enhanced Privacy Mode

If your organization has enabled Enhanced Privacy Mode in Lync, you can choose whether to limit visibility of your presence information to only those people you’ve added to your Contacts list. You do that by selecting one of the following on the Options->Status window:

  • I want everyone to be able to see my presence
  • I only want people in my Contacts list to see my presence

 Important    If you are running Lync in Privacy Mode, older versions of Microsoft Communicator will be blocked.

Block a contact

To prevent a contact from reaching you via IM or phone in Lync:

  1. In your Contacts list, right-click the contact you want to block.
  2. Click Change Privacy Relationship, and then click Blocked Contacts.

 Note    Your name and email address will still be visible to a blocked contact.

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Applies to:
Lync 2013, Lync 2013 for Office 365, Lync 2013 for Office 365 operated by 21Vianet, Lync Basic 2013