Zoom Under Scrutiny for ‘Deceptive’ Privacy and Security Claims

zoom app pulled up on a cell phone, computer with covid-19 article also in photo

The popular video conferencing platform Zoom has come under fire recently. There has been a growing chorus of concerns regarding the video chat software’s privacy and security flaws, prompting a U.S. Senator to ask the Federal Trade Commission to launch an investigation. Several state attorney generals have also probed Zoom about their flaws after many users, including some government officials, have reported harassment, known as “Zoombombing,” on the platform.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission on Friday stating Zoom had made deceptive claims to users that their communication would remain private. Zoom apparently made incorrect suggestions that its services offered end-to-end encryption, meaning that communications could not be accessed by anyone other than the sender and recipient.

Last Wednesday, Zoom retracted its claims of end-to-end encrypted communication. They released a statement that said, “While we never intended to deceive any of our customers, we recognize that there is a discrepancy between the commonly accepted definition of end-to-end encryption and how we were using it.”

Over the past month, Zoom has become the go-to platform for millions to connect with co-workers, friends, family, teachers and students. The company reported that 200 million people used its videoconferencing service daily last month. A 20% increase from the previous peak of 10 million in December.

With the platform’s heightened popularity has come some newfound software shortcomings. The software’s flaws have left users vulnerable to hacking and led to Zoombombing, in which intruders hijack into meetings with hate speech and offensive images.

The FBI released a warning for schools, in particular, to be careful using Zoom after receiving multiple reports of attacks. Zoom has seen said it has taken steps to fix the security flaws and has halted work on new feature developments to focus on fixing the privacy and security flaws.