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New York Attorney General questions if Zoom is doing enough to protect privacy

Allison Matyus
·2 min read

New York Attorney General Letitia James is questioning Zoom’s privacy practices after the videoconferencing platform has surged in popularity this past month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

James’ office sent a letter to Zoom on Monday, March 30, asking about the company’s security measures amid increased traffic, according to The New York Times.

The letter reportedly outlined concerns such as Zoom being slow to address recent security flaws and trolls hijacking Zoom meetings.

James wrote that her office was “concerned that Zoom’s existing security practices might not be sufficient to adapt to the recent and sudden surge in both the volume and sensitivity of data being passed through its network.

“While Zoom has remediated specific reported security vulnerabilities, we would like to understand whether Zoom has undertaken a broader review of its security practices,” the letter continued.

New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Digital Trends reached out to Zoom to comment on James’ letter and her concerns about their privacy policies. This story will be updated when we hear back.

“Zoom takes its users’ privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working around-the-clock to ensure that hospitals, universities, schools, and other businesses across the world can stay connected and operational,” a Zoom spokesperson told Digital Trends. “We appreciate the New York Attorney General’s engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information.”

We also reached out to James’ office for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

James’ concerns follow a recent investigation by Motherboard that revealed Zoom’s iOS app was sending some data about users to Facebook, which was not made clear in the app’s privacy policy. Data shared included people’s location, which device they were using, and advertising identification data. Zoom has since updated its iOS app to stop sending data to Facebook.

As more people use Zoom to conduct work meetings or to stay in touch with family and friends during the coronavirus outbreak, the platform has also been a target for trolls. Dubbed “zoombombers,” internet trolls are able to easily sneak into meetings and send inappropriate content to others in the call.

To prevent zoombombers from hacking your video calls, Zoom advised people to generate a random Meeting ID and choose to require passwords in order for people to be let in. It also is advised to make it so that the host of the meeting is the only one who can share their screen with others.

Zoom is currently the most popular free app for iOS users in the U.S., according to app market research firm Sensor Tower. Other video-conferencing apps like Skype, GoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts have also become critical everyday tools as America’s workforce shifts from working in an office to working from home.