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Privacy and Security

Zoom Sued Over Claims of Security Failures

Jericho Casper



Illustration of video conference by Mohamed Mahmoud Hassan used with permission

June 4, 2020 — Victor M. Rios, associate dean at the University of California Santa Barbara, has filed a class action against Zoom Video Communications, Inc. Rios is accusing the company of allowing a known offender who had been reported multiple times to authorities to Zoombomb a 400-person video conference on April 30.

Rios and other webinar attendees had their computer screens hijacked and their control buttons disabled while they were forced to watch pornographic videos portraying an adult engaging in a sexual act on an infant. Their Zoom call was bombed twice within the matter of minutes.

Traumatized, the participants could not go on with their webinar.

Rios is seeking equitable relief against Zoom for damages, in the form of attorney fees and the implementation of new security policies on the platform.

According to Rios, Zoom profits from a lack of transparency and failure to provide security.

Zoom claimed to provide end-to-end encryption for all meetings, which is widely understood as the most private form of internet communication. However, in March, a Zoom spokesperson admitted that “currently, it is not possible to enable end-to-end encryption for zoom video meetings” due to the design and operation of Zoom’s platform.

Further, Zoom collects user information for the stated purpose of “[understanding] users’ movement around the marketing site.” But Zoom reported sharing user information with Google, and Rios claimed that the company is also selling unauthorized information to Facebook.

The importance for securing Zoom’s videoconferences is especially urgent as the demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the number of meeting participants across Zoom to jump from 10 million in Dec 2019 to 200 million in March 2020, bringing increased opportunities for parties with malicious intent to interfere.

This civil complaint will be the sixth one filed in based on this conflict. There have been multiple reports of conferences being disrupted by pornography and threatening language since platform usage exploded.

Armed with Section 230, Zoom is likely to argue that they are not responsible for the actions of a third party.


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