Zoom Video Communications, the video conferencing company whose internet app became a mainstay of American life during the coronavirus pandemic, has agreed to pay $ 85 million and improve its security practices to resolve a lawsuit in which it is alleged to have breached the privacy of its users.
The lawsuit filed in March 2020, not long after the pandemic hit the United States, alleged that Zoom shared personal information with third-party internet services and allowed hackers to interrupt online meetings using something called “zoomombing,” a phenomenon that occurs on the internet -Take advantage of a screen sharing feature in the video conferencing app to view inappropriate messages or pictures.
As part of the settlement, which still requires approval from a federal judge, Zoom subscribers are entitled to a 15 percent refund on their main subscriptions or $ 25, whichever is greater. Other users could get a refund of up to $ 15.
The company also agreed to notify users when others are using third-party apps during meetings and to provide training to its employees on privacy and data handling.
“The privacy and security of our users are the top priority for Zoom, and we take our users’ trust in us seriously,” the company said in a statement. “We’re proud of the advances we’ve made on our platform and look forward to continuing to innovate with privacy and security at the forefront.”
By agreeing to settle the case, the company denied any wrongdoing.
In the spring of 2020, 14 class action lawsuits were filed against the company for zoom bombing, a much-discussed phenomenon in the first few weeks of quarantine that often involved pornography and racist language. This included posting white supremacist messages during a webinar on anti-Semitism.
In May, the US District Court for the Northern District of California combined the many complaints into a single class action lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleged that Zoom shared users’ personal data with third-party services such as Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn, and falsely told users that their service offered end-to-end encryption, a security measure that prevents outsiders from eavesdropping intended for online communication.