Zoom Says “It’s Not Our Fault”

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Zoom Video Communications Inc. has been under fire from a San Francisco church’s senior citizen bible study class. They are alleging that privacy and security flaws on Sept. 15, 2020, jeopardized the safety of the video-conferencing app.

The bible study class was interrupted with images of child pornography and the unwelcome presence of men in a private pole dancing class. Companies, like Zoom, say online publishers are immunized from these bad acts of those who use their sites because, in 1996, Congress enacted a law protecting them from such a charge.

The company has also been accused of illegally sharing users’ personal data with Facebook Inc. and misleading the public about its encryption protocols.

Executives of the company believe that the Communications Decency Act section 230, will liberate them from this litigation. The cases are before U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who has issued pioneering rulings holding Silicon Valley giants accountable for internet privacy violations.

Saratoga County’s rival economic development entities are also headed for a legal battle with Zoom over alleged hacked meetings. The Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership received a letter from the attorneys for the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation alleging that its President Shelby Schneider and her executive assistant Michele Battle accessed SEDC’s private meetings, and downloaded the recordings, and shared them.

During some of the recordings, there were “unfavorable comments” about “prominent individuals SEDC doesn’t want to offend.” SEDC board chair John Munter Jr. said, “It’s serious,” “We are not taking it lightly.”

Zoom Crashes

One day earlier in New York, parents and teachers were shocked when the video-conferencing service abruptly went dead. For roughly two-and-a-half hours users were unable to load, host, or join scheduled meetings. The problem was fixed by 11:30 a.m. ET., according to the company reported on its status page.

ZOOMNew York was not the only state that experienced downtime. Broward County Florida professor Jacqueline Donovan said, “today was horrible.”

While she was trying to hold her first class, an introduction to business, and getting frantic emails from her students. Her class was eventually canceled.

Bryan Grant in Crystal Lake, Illinois, has 3 1/2-year-old twins and a 5-year-old son that were starting their first days in front of the computer for school. Before class started, he received an urgent message instructing him to use Google.

After installing the program and signing on, he noticed that the classes were in total chaos because the kindergarten children unmuted themselves. This was something that they would not have been able to do on Zoom.

Zoom Issues

  1. Ease of use makes it easy for troublemakers to “bomb” open meetings.
  2. Their security has had a lot of holes.
  3. Privacy policies, which until recently, seemed to give them the right to do whatever it wanted with users’ personal data
  4. Their encryption policies, which are more than a tad misleading.

Does this mean that Zoom is not safe to use? No. There are good reasons they have sored and other platforms have not.

  1. Easy to set up.
  2. Easy to use.
  3. Lets users invite up to 100 people to join a meeting for free.

Most would agree those are attractive features.

Would a person get rid of their internet carrier when the wifi freezes? Would they get rid of their cellphone carrier when a call drops? What if the Lexus was not accelerating as it should? Would they fix the problem or junk it? Weighing the options here is critical.

Technology is strange like that. It may not be perfect, but it is better than the alternative.

Without companies like Zoom, Go to Meeting, and Pexip what would be the options once COVID-19 hit the world? Businesses, trade schools, and personal friends and family gatherings that remained functioning because of companies like Zoom.

By Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


MSN: Zoom Says Obscene ‘Bombings’ Aren’t Its Fault Under the Law; by Peter Blumberg

ABC NEWS: Zoom glitches, briefly grinding US schools to a halt; by Mae Anderson AP Technology Writer

Tom’s Guide: Zoom security issues: Here’s everything that’s gone wrong (so far); by Paul Wagenseil

Times Union: Saratoga economic entities battle over alleged Zoom meeting hack; by Wendy Liberatore

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Daniel Dudek’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons

Inset Image Courtesy of Rex Block’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License


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