Sen. Blumenthal Questions Zoom Over Privacy, 'Zoombombing'

Video conferencing service Zoom, which was hit with a privacy lawsuit over data transfers to Facebook, is also facing new questions from a Democratic lawmaker.

“The millions of Americans now unexpectedly attending school, celebrating birthdays, seeking medical help, and sharing evening drinks with friends over Zoom during the Coronavirus pandemic should not have to add privacy and cybersecurity fears to their ever-growing list of worries,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), says in a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan.

“Zoom has a troubling history of software design practices and security lapses that have posed significant risks to the privacy and safety of its users,” Blumenthal adds.

The company, which has seen use skyrocket during the COVID-19 pandemic, has also come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.

Last week, the publication Motherboard reported that Zoom's iOS app was sending some data about users to Facebook. On Friday, Zoom updated its app to stop the data transfers.

This week, The Intercept reported that Zoom allows itself to access unencrypted video and audio, despite claiming that it offers end-to-end encryption.

Blumenthal cites those reports in his letter to the company, as well as allegations that Zoom didn't adequately address Mac security vulnerabilities that “allowed malicious attackers to silently eavesdrop on Zoom users, crash their computers, and install unwanted programs.”

“Zoom users deserve clear and correct answers about how it protects the safety of its users and meetings,” the letter says.

He is asking the company to answer a series of questions about its data practices, including what information it collects and shares with marketers and other third parties. The lawmaker is also asking Zoom to describe its encryption policies, and to state how it aims to prevent “Zoombombing” by uninvited guests who interrupt online meetings.

A company spokesperson says Zoom “takes its users’ privacy, security, and trust extremely seriously.”

“We appreciate Senator Blumenthal's engagement on these issues and look forward to discussing with his office,” the spokesperson says.

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