We Live On Zoom Now And That Might Be a Problem

On The Media


Zoom has become the default meeting place of the world. There are a lot of virtual conference APPs. What's so special about this one? It has exploded in use mostly because it's reliable. They can handle shoddy connections. It can also facilitate meetings have quite large solid. If you WANNA catch up with friends you're able to do that. And of course this free as well so plateaued from a just videoconferencing piece of software right up to a defacto social network now at last count I believe there were nine hundred crap. Tilles zoom users. But it's free. So what's the business model? It's not advertising. So what then right where they do to encourage people to upgrade to them will premium plans. You can page more features maybe could add more people and businesses especially do this as well but of course there is a loss of alum data transfers loudest while we. Yeah well hold. That thought you first started reporting on Zoom in twenty nineteen even then it showed itself to have one major glitch. Tell me about it. Yeah in one thousand nine hundred ninety nine. A research found a pretty serious problem with zoom in that Pretty Skilled Hackett would be able to take over a web camera of Zuma music. Obviously this is probably the last thing you want. Twenty using video conferencing piece of software. Fortunately zoomed did fix that issue but apple also had to push update to sort of deal with it itself as well and put a blemish on zooms record. Yeah and you've been documenting the blemishes. Let's start with the facebook data issue. Facebook and data are two words that when combined give you the Hebrew? Jb's what are the particulars? So I found that when you open the zoom APP It would send data to facebook regardless of whether you actually had a council. Thanks pickle knelt so this included the type of phone. You were using the time zone city you connecting from and unique appetizing. Id that accompany could use potentially two targets advertisements in the future. The key thing was that this was not mentioned explicitly in zooms privacy policy. I mean a lot of APPs do this. It's certainly not uncommon for APPs to send data to facebook. But you would hope for us to make an informed. Decision companies would actually disclose information. And that's not what they did. When I contacted zoom to comment. They took some time a few days later. They actually signed to remove the code that send the data to facebook. Didn't they claim that they weren't even aware that this code was in their software and that facebook was getting this data you know is it just like yeast sitting ambient in the air. How could they not realize that? The code was there so lots of companies including facebook. They push out these so-called software development kits rusty KS which basically bundles of Code Levin APP to lots of features. That means that the APP developer doesn't have to build it from the ground up themselves so he could use the FACEBOOK S. T. K. To perhaps log into Soom via facebook but of course a scientific of that is the cameras result in some of this data transfer and zoom apparently. Wasn't aware of that when they started using this code. Now there is something else that's going on. I guess in the realm of unintended consequences. If you sign up to zoom using your company email you get a bonus now so if you sign up if you'll company or your work email is due will kind of pool if those uses together. So let's say I sign up in my work. Email Joseph Cox advice dot COM resume. Ooh than put all of a vice come uses in my contact list and this is supposed to make it easier for colleagues to communicate with one another because it puts them in the context. That's an interesting featuring it might be helpful. But some users I spoke to they found when they were signing that personal email addresses not affiliated with work whatsoever. They were having fountains of people pushing so that contacts Who will complete strangers and this gave them the ability to trying to start a video call with them. See that name see that photo and see if they were online it seems to be a bit of oversight from Zoom in mats. They allowed some addresses. G Milo Yahoo to not work this feature. But they haven't done it for every single Imelda to make this really weird side effect of strangers exposing their data to one another now. Are there any actual horror stories attendant to this glitch? Not particularly with that issue but it does relate more to the more general zoom bombing issue. Zoom meetings are getting hijacked in a new trend called zoom bombing. I it just seemed like people were checking in and then very quickly devolved into a lot of pornographic images being dumped as screen shots people hosting the public zoom meetings. You know maybe they put out a link and they say hey. We're having a guest today. Who's going to lecture about something or educates us about something and you're welcome to join if you want. But some people are joining and then using a featuring zoom allows them to share. What's on their computer? They press a button and then they abutting resume cool with hardcore pornography. Right help to hate speech against minorities so there is a real spectrum here of all. It may be a funny little prank right up to where they can. It should be targeted harassment as well. You could possibly on your meeting but if you wanted to be public don wants to do that. So you have to go into the settings and disable something else like not letting people share their screens. The burden is delegated to the user to work fast out. There's a one final issue and that concerns. The companies claim that it offers end to end encryption of its matings. That just isn't true. Yeah in their marketing material on their website. Zoom prominently says they have end to end encryption. And this means ensure that if I'm having a zoom conference cool the only two entities can be able to read that communication will view it. It's GonNa be me and the person I'm speaking to the attraction then twins encryption. Why messaging platforms such as what sap have rose. How ever zoom simply does not use into encryption? Even though it says it does the intercept. Fallon's when they went through the technical details approach the company Zoom omitted. It doesn't actually do this. And of course. Incredibly misleading marketing and that needs to be remedied and use these there is also a trade off because zoom has become so large so rapidly and technical limitations of you being able to dial into meeting with a telephone call. Robin with the computer is actually quite complicated to get end to end encryption going but that doesn't mean they should be misleading uses about US tool. It turned out that the only thing that was end to end encrypted was the messaging that users could do back and forth individually while in the larger meeting by Ms Course if use of reads the website and sees encryption. It's not it's going to be fair to the user to assume that that means myzone meetings my big conference schools with my friends. Will my company also criticism this way? But unfortunately that's not the case and these sorts of encryption they used US potentially gives zoom the possibility to look at more use the data. Then it would be if it was properly encrypted. None of what we've been discussing seems that zoom is a menace to our privacy in large way but the company has gotten into the sites of various regulators. What's going on New York? Since lesser to zoom asking him to clarify Walsall Security Measures in privacy protections. They have actually put in place especially as zoom has skyrocketed in popularity and then after our reporting about the facebook data transfer a user did file a class action lawsuit in California citing the state's new data protection. Act arguing that use. The data was transferred without permission. So we have to see if she sends up in court on a K. Principle of Internet law is the notion that platforms are not responsible for the content that they pass along to users. We're zoom fit in in this notion of being held harmless for the mischief of those who use the platform. Yes maybe five. Ten years ago there was a much more widespread belief that facebook and twitter and social networks could be sort of hands off the uses. That thing and we'll stop you if you do anything illegal. But that sort of it that's has been a great cultural shift in that especially around the social networks and they are being particularly more hands on when it comes to all sorts of contents especially harassment. As well and I think logically that could extend to zoom because it's not just a video conferencing piece of software. Today it has become a social network. Children are using zoom teenagers. Young adults everybody basically is on this platform and when harassment is taking place when racial harassment is taking place logically. Zoom also has the same sort of responsibility to protect its uses. Is there a larger lesson to be drawn here? Just about the general risk taken the trade offs that we make when taking advantage of technology particularly social media. The utility is obvious there but not without its dangers. Yeah I mean when a social media ramp or any sorts of communication tech platform you know skyrockets in popularity people need to bear in mind particular risks of that and maybe if the APP hasn't received all that much scrutiny before maybe uses onto worry about that of course it would be nice if companies prioritized the engineering of privacy insecurity before they became massive communication platforms. But at least maybe they can deal with that

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