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Zoom Makes Effort To Improve Its Privacy

Due to the lockdown of cities during the Covid-19 crisis, Zoom, an online video-conferencing platform, has seen a surge of users on its platforms without enabling security features

The sudden boom due to coronavirus pandemic has basically constrained Zoom to openly recognize and take corrective measures to address their problems in lesser duration than older companies like Facebook. As of Now Zoom's privacy and security practices are being scrutinised by the attorney generals of several states even though the company has officially committed to improve them.

The video conferencing service of Zoom has evolved as a backbone of communication during the last month as the world fought with the coronavirus pandemic. However, Zoom had to pay the price for this convenience fuelled through popularity. The platform was initially designed as a video platform for company employees, sales representatives and clients to conduct their business meetings online. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, there was a sudden rush of consumers who flocked for schools and socialising purposes turning them towards online platforms. The hackers hijacked video conferences and harassed participants. The attacks were called as Zoombombing.

Zoom is now taking more proactive steps to improve upon the security features of their video conferencing application, after facing a massive backlash for the lack of adequate privacy and security on their platform.

Eric S. Yuan, Chief Executive, Zoom Video Communications, and the man behind the platform regretted of not seeing a possibility of the platform being used by tech neophytes instead of just a bunch of elite digitally savvy businessmen. He said, “We were focusing on business enterprise customers.” He further added, “However, we should have thought about if end-users started using Zoom for non-business events or for family gatherings for online weddings.” “The risks, the misuse, we never thought about that,” Yuan said. 

The man behind the California based company said, “We never felt the need until now to rigorously examine the platform’s privacy and security implications for consumers. If not for this crisis, I think we would have never thought about this.” Last week, the company received a letter from the office of New York’s attorney general questioning the company’s security practices to handle the surge in both volume and sensitivity of data that was being passed by their network. Later FBI also warned the company after receiving several complaints Zoom bombing, which included incidents wherein the school meetings were hijacked by strangers who posted pornographic material and used threatening language.

Zoom was quick to announce that it would remove facebook software and LinkedIn data mining feature from its application. The company also changed the default settings that would require the participants to be individually admitted from its virtual waiting room. Zoom was founded by Yuan, who was a former executive with Cisco, in 2011. His company’s mission is to make video communications frictionless. However, now after the zoom bombing debacle, the company has taken a few extensive measures immediately. They have also gone ahead and signed an extensive privacy compliance agreement with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services for school districts in Chautauqua County, Southern Erie County and part of Cattaraugus County, in New York.

The landmark agreement, that was signed by Zoom on March 31, serves as a model in meeting the stringent new state privacy rules for schools. 

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Zoom app COVID-19 hacking

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