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US probing US$15 billion Zoom deal for “foreign participation”

Zoom have once again come under scrutiny in the US, with the Federal Communications Commission calling out its proposed US$15 billion buyout of cloud contact centre software Five9.

The FCC suggest the deal could pose a potential national risk due to “foreign participation”, and the Justice Department has asked them to wait until an investigation into “foreign relationships and ownership” is completed.

Though no foreign relationship was specifically mentioned, Zoom has previously been linked to China.

“The Five9 acquisition is subject to certain telecom regulatory approvals,” a Zoom spokesperson says. “We have made filings with the various applicable regulatory agencies.”

Zoom expects to receive regulatory approval for the deal, which would then go through in the first half of 2022.

Zoom was started in 2011 by Chinese-born American engineer Eric Yuan. Though they have tried to distance themselves from China, the company’s research and development team are said to have a “significant footprint” in the country, though they have expanded engineering facilities to India.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Zoom a “Chinese entity” after they admitted to mistakenly routing some American user’s data through servers in China.

Zoom have now installed firewalls between US and Chinese user data. They have since stopped service in individual users there.

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