By Ben Jardine
SAN JOSE – Zoom will look to pause the development of new features of its video conferencing app, following growing concern about its safety and privacy issues among its users worldwide. The San Jose company which has benefited from the world-wide coronavirus pandemic with many users joining its platform to have weekly work meetings, sports activities, and family quizzes.
Eric Yuan, Zoom’s chief executive admitted to “falling short” when it comes to the safety of the users that now amount to around 200 million from a mere 10 million users back in December 2019. Yuan said that Zoom is “working around the clock” to support the influx of new users, and he admitted that the company has “fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations and for that, I am deeply sorry” he wrote.
Last month, Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General, launched an inquiry into Zoom’s privacy and security practices and as a result Zoom is now banned from all New York City schools.
Zoom was founded by Yuan in 2011 and after it became a public company in April last year, it was worth a staggering US$16 billion by the end of its first day of trading, an amount so big it feels like it was won a bestuk.casino. All of this was good to investors but they will no doubt be worried by the new phenomenon called ‘zoombombing’ which sees uninvited guests join video conferences, usually to shout abuse, share pornography or make racist remarks.
Zoom has since taken the following steps to address its users’ concerns:
- clarifying its encryption practices
- removing code that meant information was shared from its iOS app to Facebook
- releasing fixes for Mac-related issues
- removing a LinkedIn feature to prevent unnecessary data disclosure
- issuing guidelines about how to avoid becoming a victim of zoombombing
And over the next 3 months it plans to:
- freeze development of new features to focus on safety and privacy
- conduct a review with independent experts to understand new security features needed for new customers
- prepare a transparency report on data requests
- enhance its bug bounty program
- hold a weekly webinar to provide privacy and security updates
Whatever happens next, the world will be expecting Zoom to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the protection of their users, sooner rather than later.