Zoom Suspended The Accounts Of Hong Kong Activists At The Request Of China… Now Congress Wants To Know More

It seems that Zoom cannot stay out of the news for all the wrong reasons. This time Zoom is in hot water because Zoom issued a statement on Thursday acknowledging that the Chinese government requested that it suspend the accounts of several U.S.- and Hong Kong-based Chinese activists for holding events commemorating the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre:

Recent articles in the media about adverse actions we took toward Lee Cheuk-yan, Wang Dan, and Zhou Fengsuo have some calling into question our commitment to being a platform for an open exchange of ideas and conversations. To be clear, their accounts have been reinstated, and going forward, we will have a new process for handling similar situations. 

We will do better as we strive to make Zoom the most secure and trusted way to bring people together. 

Now if you read the rest of the blog post, Zoom acknowledges that they screwed up here. And that they are going to take corrective actions:

  • Going forward Zoom will not allow requests from the Chinese government to impact anyone outside of mainland China.
  • Zoom is developing technology over the next several days that will enable us to remove or block at the participant level based on geography. This will enable us to comply with requests from local authorities when they determine activity on our platform is illegal within their borders; however, we will also be able to protect these conversations for participants outside of those borders where the activity is allowed.
  • We are improving our global policy to respond to these types of requests. We will outline this policy as part of our transparency report, to be published by June 30, 2020.

Now that isn’t good enough for some. Three U.S. lawmakers asked Zoom to clarify its data-collection practices and relationship with the Chinese government:

Representatives Greg Walden, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the ranking member of a consumer subcommittee, sent a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan on Thursday asking him to clarify the company’s data practices, whether any was shared with Beijing and whether it encrypted users’ communications. 

Republican Senator Josh Hawley also wrote to Yuan asking him to “pick a side” between the United States and China. 

The three politicians have previously expressed concerns about TikTok’s owner, Chinese firm ByteDance, which is being scrutinized by U.S. regulators over the personal data the short video app handles.

Seeing as this is an election year, I would not be at all surprised if Congressional Hearings were called and Zoom CEO Eric Yuan was called onto the carpet. Because if Yuan thought his blog post would put out the fire related to this latest scandal, he’d be wrong.

One Response to “Zoom Suspended The Accounts Of Hong Kong Activists At The Request Of China… Now Congress Wants To Know More”

  1. […] Zoom had to work double time to figure out a way to make that go away. Or it could be the fact that Zoom dropped themselves in it by shutting down the accounts of Hong Kong democracy activists recentl… and they need to get some sort of “win” to make users perceive them differently. Either […]

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