Zoom Video Under Scrutiny for Data Privacy and Security Practices

Zoom Video is asked by the New York attorney general's office to disclose any security measures the company has put in place to handle its recent surge in usage.
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Zoom Video Communications  (ZM) - Get Report, the proverbial lifeline millions have logged into to communicate face to face through the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdowns, is under scrutiny by the New York attorney general's office for its data privacy and security practices.

Zoom on Monday received a letter from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James asking what new security measures the company has put in place, if any, to handle its recent surge in usage, the New York Times reported.

Zoom confirmed receipt of the letter, responding in a statement that it “…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," the company said. 

"We appreciate the New York attorney general's engagement on these issues and are happy to provide her with the requested information," the company added.

Despite the availability of numerous other video-conferencing and online chatting services from the likes of Alphabet-owned Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report, which offers Google Meet, and Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report, which offers Skype, Zoom has quickly become a verb amid the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown as users flock to its platform - not only for work and school but also for socializing and events.

However, that has prompted the New York AG’s office to look more closely into how Zoom is collecting data on its millions of users, and what the company is doing to protect that data - specifically against hackers or other malicious third parties that could gain access to users’ webcams.

"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 attorney general's letter said, according to the Times.

James also is concerned about the data privacy of children using the service. Her office has asked Zoom to send a copy of its privacy policy for obtaining and verifying consent in primary and secondary schools, and a description of third parties who received data related to children.

Of particular concern is a phenomenon known as "Zoombombing," in which individuals infiltrate online classes and share indecent images or worse. Zoom said it has addressed the issue and has illustrated how to keep what it calls "party crashers" from joining

Shares of Zoom Video were down 3.07% at $146.25 in morning trading on Tuesday.