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Zoom Sued By Investors, As Governments & Institutions Ban Calls

Adding to the list of lawsuits levelled against Zoom Video Communications, the company is now being sued by one of its own investors.

On the 7th of April another class action lawsuit was filed against Zoom in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, led by shareholder Michael Drieu.

Drieu alleges that investors were misled about Zoom’s privacy and security practices.

Furthermore, the class action claims that media reports – such as Citizen Lab’s report that poked holes in Zoom’s encryption quality, as well as flaws in the platform’s data privacy practices – have highlighted these issues and led to the company’s stock plummeting.

Zoom Video Communication’s share price has indeed fallen from a peak of USD$159.56 on the 23rd of March to USD$117.81 as of the 8th of April. However, this is still some way above the company’s share price prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. From April 2019 to January 2020 the share price ranged USD$62.00-76.30.

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Zoom has made many efforts to mitigate the backlash against its security and privacy practices. Yesterday, the CEO Eric Yuan announced the creation of a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Council and Advisory Board to help the company get up to speed with industry best practices. Its initial members include security leaders from VMware, Netflix, Uber, and Electronic Arts.

The platform has also introduced new automatically enabled security features. Now, within a meeting, there will be a security icon from which hosts and co-hosts will be able to lock the meeting, enable the waiting room feature, remove participants. From here hosts can also restrict participants’ ability to share their screens, chat in a meeting, rename themselves and annotate hosts’ content.

However, a number of major bodies have decided Zoom is still not secure enough.

The government of Taiwan has said public bodies should not use Zoom, New York City has banned any school meetings from being held on Zoom, and Elon Musk’s company SpaceX recently banned employees from using the video conferencing software.

According BuzzFeed News, Google is the latest company to prevent its employees from using Zoom.

While they seemed to sidestep the question of whether any Australian government departments were using Zoom, the APSC COVID-19 Taskforce did provide the following comment: “For team communication and collaboration, GovTEAMS and Microsoft Teams are secure platforms used in some, and available to, APS agencies on PROTECTED networks.”

According to The Australian, the Australian Defence Force has banned use of the platform for any calls.

Citizen Lab’s report specifically stated that Zoom was not suited for secrets, stating: “The rapid uptake of teleconference platforms such as Zoom, without proper vetting, potentially puts trade secrets, state secrets, and human rights defenders at risk.”

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