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Elizabeth Warren demands info on children’s privacy policies in letter to Zoom CEO

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In a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan right now, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) raised new considerations concerning the service’s security and privateness insurance policies amid unprecedented shopper utilization of the product in schooling and elsewhere. The letter pays explicit consideration to customers underneath the age of 13 who’re topic to particular privateness protections underneath the Kids’s On-line Privateness Safety Act (COPPA).

The letter particulars quite a lot of Zoom’s current safety and privateness points, together with the current “Zoombombing” harassment assaults and its iOS app inadvertently sharing information with Fb.

“We admire your introduced intention to handle every of those points,” the letter reads, “however it’s alarming that Zoom allowed these safety breaches to have an effect on thousands and thousands of customers and didn’t establish or resolve them till they turned public.”

Yuan has acknowledged that Zoom was unprepared for the surge in non-enterprise customers. “Clearly we’ve got quite a lot of work to do to make sure the safety of all these new shopper use instances,” Yuan mentioned in a public stay stream on Wednesday. “However what I can promise you is that we take these points very, very severely.”

As an enterprise app, Zoom was not constructed with underage customers in thoughts, and the corporate’s privateness coverage notes that it doesn’t “knowingly permit kids underneath the age of 16 to join their very own accounts” — though there’s a particular provision for the Zoom Training service. Nonetheless, Warren and Markey level out that the surge in utilization makes it seemingly that many academics have ended up utilizing the free service as an emergency measure. Zoom additionally collects numerous information from free customers, making it believable that kids’s information could have been collected by the app.

In gentle of these considerations, Warren and Markey ask Yuan for detailed and particular info on the corporate’s information practices and safety historical past. Specifically, the senators ask for a full recounting of any information breaches the service has skilled in addition to the entire reported incidents of Zoombombing in a classroom context. The senators additionally ask for broader details about how Zoom is working to take care of compliance with COPPA.

The letter comes amid an unprecedented surge in scrutiny for the app, which had been largely restricted to enterprise customers earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, Markey called on the Federal Trade Commission to set official privateness requirements for videoconferencing instruments, a possible signal of escalating regulation within the house.

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