‘Zoom’-ing Out Of Proportion: Viral Video App Faces Privacy Backlash Amid Popularity Surge

by Darshit Singh 4 years ago Views 3045

Zoom app has faced intense scrutiny as it continues to be at the top of Android And iOS app stores around the world and dethroned Whatsapp, Instagram, and TikTok to gain the 1st spot in India’s Google Play Store

‘Zoom’-ing Out Of Proportion: Viral Video App Face
The novel coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the globe forcing major economies to shut their operations and workers being asked to work from home, resulting in a huge surge of using video conferencing apps such as Zoom, Skype, Flock, and Houseparty.

Video chat apps have been a gamechanger in tackling complete halt of work due to lockdown and workers join in from the comfort of their homes.


But now, two companies, Zoom and Houseparty which saw a huge spike in their popularity during the pandemic lockdown have come under scrutiny from privacy advocates and security experts.

Zoom app, in particular, has faced intense scrutiny as it continues to be at the top of Android And iOS app stores around the world and dethroned Whatsapp, Instagram, and TikTok to gain the 1st spot in India’s Google Play Store.

On March 31, conservative UK PM Boris Johnson who has also tested positive for COVID-19 chaired his first digital Cabinet meet via the Zoom app. 

The app raised eyebrows when an internet phenomenon called “Zoombombing” went viral where pranksters joined Zoom calls and played shock or explicit videos in the middle of a meeting or a class.

App’s default settings are said to be the reason behind the vulnerability which doesn’t encourage a password protected meeting, allowing any participant to share their screens. However, the company last week adjusted its settings for educational accounts but everyone else needs to update their settings to avoid surprise from a bunch of strangers.

Last week, the company was left red-faced after it was found of sending analytics data along with a “unique advertiser identifier” to Facebook even though the users didn’t have an account on the social media platform. Later, Zoom founder Eric Yuan in a blogpost announced the removal of the Facebook software development kit (SDK) from its iOS app.

The California based tech company also faced several questions over its claims to offer “end to end encryption” due to experts pointing out that the app was using transport encryption rather than end-to-end encryption.

Another issue pointed out by the users is the attention tracking feature which allows the meeting host to know whether someone is focusing on the app or just keeping it on in the background. The feature has been actively promoted by the company to educators to keep a tab on students sneaking the virtual class.

Owing to the large-scale sudden popularity, Zoom has reportedly gained more users in the first two months of 2020 than it did in all of 2019.

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