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Lawsuit against Zoom brings issues of privacy, data sharing to the fore

2 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Monday, August 02 2021 Aug 2, 2021 August 02, 2021 12:18 PM August 02, 2021 in News
Source: BBC News

The very tool most people use to make life easier has become a source of anxiety to some.

Most of us love that the internet provides access to friends and family we want to contact, not to mention that it puts a wealth of information at our fingertips.

This is likely why, according to one 2021 research study, 31% of U.S. adults report that they are online “almost constantly."  

That said, just as internet users have access to an abundance of information, other people online can find access to their personal information. This data can be gathered and made available to advertisers who want to find out more about a potential customer's likes, dislikes, and daily habits.

This is where anxiety can kick in. The notion of having one's personal information tracked online by groups of advertisers is pretty unappealing to most people.

That's why average users are beginning to take matters into their owns hands and fight for their privacy.

One survey revealed that 86% of US citizens have attempted to somehow remove or decrease their digital footprint online.

In addition to this, lawsuits have been filed against multi-million dollar companies on the basis that they're unlawfully gathering data on users and sharing it.  

One company that recently came under fire is Zoom, a video-conferencing firm that took off in popularity when the pandemic began in 2020 and a number of people, the world over, modified their in-person events and meetings to take place over Zoom.

A year after the pandemic began, Zoom continues to flourish, with logins by about 300 million daily meeting participants, counting both free and paying users. 

But, according to BBC News, the lawsuit was filed in March of 2020 and alleged Zoom invaded the privacy of millions of users by sharing their personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.

The lawsuit also alleged that Zoom falsely claimed to offer end-to-end encryption and failed to prevent hackers from 'zoombombing' Zoom meetings. 

The company denied the accusations, but settled and agreed to pay $86m.

In addition to forking over 86 million, Zoom will give its staff specialized training in data handling and privacy.

A Zoom spokesman said: "The privacy and security of our users are top priorities for Zoom, and we take seriously the trust our users place in us.

"We are proud of the advancements we have made to our platform, and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront."

According to NPR, there are steps a person can take to try and protect their privacy online. For example: 

-Delete unnecessary apps from your phone as these can be used as tracking tools; use your browser instead.

-Turn off ad personalization 

-Use an encrypted app for chat messaging (such as WhatsApp) 

Click here for information from the federal government related to privacy and online safety. 

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